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Law and Critique

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 163–182 | Cite as

Governing Health and Social Security in the Twenty-First Century: Active Citizenship Through the Right to Participate

  • Toomas KotkasEmail author
Article

Abstract

This article discusses the role of individual rights in the production of active citizenship. In recent years, the notion of ‘active citizenship’ has become an object of research in both political and social science. Studies that draw on the Foucaultian governmentality tradition have been particularly interested in various societal discourses and practices through which active citizenship is being produced. However, the role of law and rights has been neglected or even rejected in these studies. The aim of this article is thus to show that certain procedural rights, the right to participate in particular, constitute an important legal technology in the production of active citizenship. The analysis is based on the recent developments in Finnish social and health care law. It will also be argued that despite the apparently convergent subject-matter, Jürgen Habermas’s normative theory of the ‘procedural paradigm of law’ does not offer a meaningful framework in which to address the relationship between active citizenship and procedural rights since it is based on an overly narrow conception of subjectivity.

Keywords

Active citizenship Foucault Governmentality studies Habermas Procedural rights 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the anonymous referee and all those who have commented on the earlier versions of this article, especially Professor Anna Hollander.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre of Excellence in the Foundations of European Law and Polity Research, Faculty of LawUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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