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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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Political Societies

Political Societies

(p.185) 9 Political Societies
A Theory of Political Obligation

Margaret Gilbert (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A political society was defined in Chapter 1 as a society with institutions of governance. These institutions are its institutions. Three kinds of institution of governance are discussed, all involving social rules of one kind or another: governing rules, personal rule, and rules of governance or constitutional rules. The nature of social rules is explored in counterpoint to the classical account of H.L.A. Hart, and an alternative joint commitment account is offered. Given this account, the members of a political society are jointly committed to uphold its institutions of governance. By the argument of the previous chapters, they will then be obligated to uphold the institutions in question. This is the gist of the plural subject theory of political obligation.

Keywords:   H.L.A. Hart, institutions of governance, joint commitment, plural subject theory, political obligation, political society, social rules

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