On Agency

Lea Ypi

in Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199593873
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731426 | DOI:
On Agency

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Global egalitarian principles call for a political distribution of responsibilities which are in turn dependent on relevant political and institutional reforms. For this kind of reform to be both politically feasible and motivationally sustainable, the chapter argues, existing associative relations are crucial. Cosmopolitanism becomes politically effective by taking advantage of political mechanisms that allow citizens to transform collective institutions by putting constraints on each other’s action. It may hope to be stably maintained by appealing to familiar learning processes, a particular sense of justice, and cultural resources that motivate existing moral agents. To clarify both points, the chapter invokes the concepts of popular sovereignty and civic education mentioned when exploring the tensions between cosmopolitanism and patriotism during the Enlightenment, and examines their application to the global justice debate.

Keywords: political feasibility; moral motivation; associative relations; popular sovereignty; civic education; avant-garde; cosmopolitan transformations

Chapter.  10672 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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