Voting and Liberty

Contemporary Implications of the Skinnerian Re-thinking of Political Liberty

in Contributions to the History of Concepts
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  • 1 University of Jyväskylä kari.i.palonen@jyu.fi
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In this paper, the author takes up the opposition between liberty and dependence proposed by Quentin Skinner and applies it to the analysis of the debates involving voting rights and regulations. The goal here is to examine the rhetoric supporting different positions in favor and against the extension of suffrage, the exclusion of certain groups, etc. The author points out that dependence can be detected even in democratic societies that lack traditional hierarchies. A similar effort is made to think how commitment, deliberation, and contestation can take place in the context of today's representative democracy in ways that enhance freedom instead of endangering it.

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