• Iris Marion Young, ‘Polity & Group Difference: A Critique of the Ideal of Universal Citizenship’

Key Concepts & Guidance Questions

  • Why has the struggle for equal citizenship rights not led to social justice for all citizens? (250-1)
  • What are the two reasons Young gives that the ‘general will’ (learnt with Mill, Week 4) tends to exclude and oppress some citizens? (251)
  • How, according to Young, should minority social groups be defined? (258-260)
  • What are the five conditions of oppression Young gives? (261)
  • What three mechanisms does Young propose in order for minority perspectives to receive adequate representation? (261-2)
  • If we adopt Young’s model of interest group representation, who gets to represent the minority interest group? On what basis are these representatives chosen? (264)
  • Summarise the reasons why Young claims that (a) universalist citizenship leads to oppression of some groups (b) differentiated citizenship is the solution

Application Questions

  • ‘Universal forms of citizenship are merely a mask for assimilating minority cultures to the culture of the dominant group’ (an invented statement describing one of Young’s main ideas). Would you agree with this statement for (a) CAPT (b) Singapore (c) another place of you are thinking of?
  • In your opinion, are Young’s recommendations for minority representation adequately met in Singapore? What are some issues and problems?
  • What group-differentiated citizenship rights does Singapore recognize? Do you think these are justified? Why?
  • In your view, does the kind of group-differentiated citizenship (special rights) Young advocates lead to weak national community? Give examples to support your view.