Minimalist Citizenship and National Identity in the Australian Republican Movement
By Francesco Veri
Volume 16, Issue 1, pages 3-19
This article explores the way in which the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) in the 1990s considered the meaning of citizenship and national identity. We seek to demonstrate that ARM’s citizenship ideal was minimalist because it largely ignored legal and normative notions of citizenship for pragmatic, political, and theoretical reasons. First, we will explore the meaning of citizenship in the Australian institutional context in order to explain the differences between the legal exclusive notion and the normative inclusive understanding of citizenship. Later, we will focus our analysis specifically on ARM’s political debate during the 1990s. From this point of view, ARM only portrayed an unattractive normative vision of Australian citizenship which relied on universal civic values based on civic-territorial and egalitarian ideas of citizenship adaptable to any political system. ARM’s minimalist constitutional proposal hardly had an impact on national identity because it was not designed to harbour an inclusive normative vision of citizenship. ARM had an opportunity to advance a new conception of citizenship which would have advanced a more attractive definition of national identity. ARM’s minimalist approach also negatively influenced the 1999 republican referendum outcome.
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