Nexus, framework: constituting authority

Lynn Dobson

in Supranational Citizenship

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780719069529
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781781702154 | DOI:
Nexus, framework: constituting authority

Show Summary Details


This chapter posits citizenship as necessary to the polity's democratic authority. Authority depends not on the form in which political power is embedded but rather on how it is constituted and exercised, so our thinking should not be driven by nation-state assumptions. In principle a wide array of forms of political organisation, including international, transnational, or supranational institutions, can be morally justified. What matters is how the political institutions conduce to the freedom and well-being of individuals. Further, it is argued that citizenship is not contingent upon but instead is intrinsic to the possibility and the constitution of legitimate democratic political authority. Citizens are the authors as well as the addressees of political rules. They exercise this agency through authorising representatives who are then accountable to citizens for their performance in discharging citizens’ responsibilities. Moreover, citizens’ political responsibilities extend beyond the territory over which the political bodies they authorise have jurisdiction; morality and thus duties are extra-territorial and inter-temporal.

Keywords: Legitimacy; International institutions; Supranational; Transnational; Democratic authority; Citizens; Political responsibility; Morality; Duty; Extra-territorial

Chapter.  7228 words. 

Subjects: European Union

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.