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POLI 231 - Siéyes 2

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 231
Arash Abizadeh

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What is the nation?
Three answers:
Democratic/Political -> members of nation by sharing political institutions
Linguistic/Cultural -> sharing common languages & culture
Ethnic/Genealogical -> sharing ancestors/genes
Sometimes, all three work (Quebecois)
Democratic -> sovereignty and legitimacy rests in the nation
-> political power is legitimate insofar as it is compatible with the
freedom of the nation
Question: Legitimacy vs Unity
Legitimacy can be answered by saying that it rests with the freedom of nation.
But what about unity? What are the boundaries of the nation? What binds nations
Abizadeh's Self-Referential Theory
Systems like nationalism combines the questions of legitimacy and unity.
Legitimacy of political power here is sprung from the very people over which the
political power is wielded.
Nation: body of associates living under common law and represented by the
same legislature
This is the democratic (and Sieyes') answer.
equality for all citizens of the nation -> status of foreigners?
Three elements of the definition:
1) Body of associates -> corporate existence of nation having a general will
2) Common law -> binding element; specifies boundaries for the nation.
Regulation of only what is held in common
3) Common Representation -> common interests = legitimate. Existence of
collective body depends on representation
Inconsistency: nation leads to legitimacy, but representation leads to the nation.
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