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Authors: McGuire, Trevor Scott
Advisors: Lane, Melissa
Department: Politics
Class Year: 2014
Abstract: We should not understand the “state” as a real entity, because it suggests the existence of a single public entity. Instead, we should understand the state as realized in a public sector which gives the individuals necessary to its activity special rights to enforcement denied to private individuals, called ‘public sector privilege.’ These privileges are variously justified with recourse to the concepts of universal rights, public goods, and inherently democratic institutions; justification of ‘public sector privilege’ facilitates modernization via social differentiation. Critical assessment of these three justifications of modern democracy - employing the antimodern democratic paradigms of communitarianism, libertarianism, and participatory democracy – suggests that none of these justifications can independently legitimize ‘public sector privilege.’ The resultant understanding of ‘public sector privilege’ as legitimized through justification challenges the notion that modern democratic theory is normatively superior to premodern democratic theory. This antimodern sentiment is intended not as a defense of premodern democratic theory, but as a proof-of-concept of postmodern democratic theory capable of effecting progress by eliminating arbitrary distinctions between the premodern and the modern.
Extent: 111 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Politics, 1927-2017

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