Democratic Rights: The Substance of Self-Government


ACLS Fellowship Program


Political Science

Named Award

ACLS/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Junior Faculty Fellow named award


John Rawls' Theory of Justice and Political Liberalism both focus on the task of providing a theory of the substantive demands of justice. Distinct from this project is a body of literature dedicated to elaborating on the meaning of democracy in procedural terms. In the book proposed, I will offer an alternative to the traditional divide between procedural theories of democracy and substantive theories of justice. I argue that democracy itself is fundamentally about a core set of values--political autonomy, equality of interests, and reciprocity--with both procedural and substantive implications. I contend that what are often thought of as distinctly liberal substantive rights to privacy, property, and welfare can be newly understood within a theory of democracy.