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A Theory of Political ObligationMembership, Commitment, and the Bonds of Society$
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Margaret Gilbert

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199274956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199274959.001.0001

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Social Groups: Starting Small

Social Groups: Starting Small

(p.93) 6 Social Groups: Starting Small
A Theory of Political Obligation

Margaret Gilbert (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In pursuit of a satisfactory theory of political obligation, a start is made towards the articulation of a particular conception of a political society, with a focus on social groups. These range from the enduring and relatively permanent to the small and transient: even two people out on a walk together constitute such a group by virtue of their joint activity. This chapter makes a number of observations on that case that may serve as tests of an account of joint activity generally. For instance, the parties are understood to have a special standing to rebuke each other for action that undermines the joint activity and upon which there has been no explicit or implicit concurrence between the parties. Various ways in which joint activity may come about, including initial agreements, are explored and an account of joint activity in terms of the parties’ joint commitment is sketched.

Keywords:   agreements, joint activity, political society, rebuke, social group, walking together

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