2014 JSI Seminar Series: Professor Helen Irving
13 November 2014
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The Quality of Citizenship: Challenging Normative and Formalist Theories of Citizenship
Citizenship is a disorderly concept. On the one hand, citizenship theory has generated multiple adjectival forms, normative models, and strained claims about the character of the citizen, producing an unwieldy body of literature, telling us too much. On the other hand, the legal treatment of citizenship has been reductionist, focusing on formal tests of status and consequence, telling us too little. Each seems to be speaking to a different audience about essentially different things. However, both sides - the normative/hortatory and the legal/formalist - have in common a view of citizenship that is essentially contingent and consequential. This view is most recognisable in Hannah Arendt's claim that citizenship is the "right to have rights." This paper challenges, not Arendt's scholarship, but the idea of citizenship as a test of, or pathway to, something else, whether virtue or rights. It offers, instead, a view of citizenship as a quality, sui generis, that is constrained by law, but is much more than a bundle of either rights or attributes.
Professor Helen Irving teaches Australian, comparative, and United States constitutional law. She has researched and written on the making of the Australian Constitution; comparative constitutional design and gender; the use of history in constitutional interpretation; and the 'dialogue' model of judicial review. Her current major research, supported by a four-year ARC Discovery Grant, is on the history of constitutional citizenship and gender.
Lawyers/barristers: attendance at this lecture is equal to2 MCLE/CPD units
Cost: Free, registration essential
Contact: Professional Learning and Community Engagement (PLaCE) Team