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Rethinking the citizen


Thursday, January 24, 2019: 12:15 – 1:30 p.m.

Rethinking the Citizen: 

Challenging the Perpetual Adulthood of Citizens in Many Theories of Citizenship

By Professor Monique Lanoix

In her transformative book Love’s Labor, Eva Kittay focused attention on the injustice of excluding persons with severe cognitive disabilities. Her book was followed by intense debates and discussion surrounding the challenges that cognitive disabilities pose to theories of justice. More recently, in Zoopolis, Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka draw on the work of disability theorists, such as Leslie Pickering Francis and Anita Silvers, to put forward including domestic animals in a theory of citizenship. Proposals to expand the public and political spheres to include individuals who appear to be non-cooperating and taken to be marginal to justice are not solely the domain of philosophers and political theorists. In their discussions on dementia, some sociologists and gerontologists propose putting forward different concepts of citizenship, social or relational citizenship. My discussion is in alignment with the suggestion that citizenship needs to be reconceptualized. However, I wish to begin a step earlier and examine the concept of the citizen. Although I find Donaldson and Kymlicka’s proposal to include non-human animals in a theory of citizenship worth reflecting on, I will bracket non-human animals from my paper at this point. I do this in order to focus on my immediate goal, which is to challenge the implicit view that the citizen is a perpetual adult in theories of citizenship.

Monique Lanoix is associate professor of philosophy at Saint Paul University in the Centre for Research in Public Ethics and Governance, where she teaches courses in feminist ethics and human rights. She received her PhD from the Université de Montréal and was a post-doctoral fellow at Dalhousie University. Her research focuses on ancillary care as a right of social citizenship. She has published in Hypatia, Brain Injury, IJFAB, Chronic Illness and the Journal of Medical Ethics.


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