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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

There is deep tension within mainstream citizenship theory. On the one hand, citizenship is often defined in terms of social membership, such that all those affected or all those governed should be part of the demos. On the other hand, citizenship is often limited by an implicit “capacity contract” to those with sophisticated cognitive and linguistic capacities to engage in rational political deliberation, thereby excluding children, people with cognitive disabilities, and animals, who are relegated to a nebulous (and neglected) status of wardship. This chapter explores this tension between these two accounts, and argues that we should abandon the capacity contract as both theoretically arbitrary and politically pernicious. Citizenship should include all members of society, and this in turn requires new models of (interdependent) agency that enable all members to participate in shaping the society and laws by which they are governed.

Keywords: Citizenship, disability, children, animals, membership, participation, capacity, agency, wardship

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