Freedom,power and relational equality: republican justice in diverse societies
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This thesis is my response to a view of republicanism that has become orthodox among contemporary political theorists. On that view, when we are talking about what it means to be treated as free and equal in a republic we are talking about having a certain security or resilience against the arbitrary interference of other agents or agencies in our lives. Social equality, on this orthodox republican view, is secured if citizens enjoy ‘equal freedom as non-domination’ in their lives. While this orthodox view has a lot to recommend it, I do not think that it goes far enough in securing our freedom and equality in number of important additional domains. As I argue in this thesis, if republicanism is going to provide an attractive public philosophy for our contemporary age, as neo-republicans aspire it to, then we need to go beyond the narrow concern with relations of unfreedom and explore the various forms of non-freedom or disabling constraints to action that render citizens socially unequal vis-à-vis each other. Accordingly, in what follows, I argue for an account of republican relational equality, which I claim is more efficacious in removing cultural and symbolic inequalities in society than the standard republican view. Furthermore, I apply this conception of relational equality to one of the more challenging issues of our times, namely, the reasonable accommodation of minority cultures in a republic. As I will show, the account of republican equality developed in this thesis provides a normatively attractive way for adjudicating cases where the demands for individual freedom as non-domination conflicts with a minority group’s demand for recognition.