The « juste » institutions of a liberal democracy are not enought to guarantee its stability at a time of growing cultural diversity. They have to gain citizens’ allegiances in the long term in spite of their conflicting comprehensive doctrines. This can only be achieved, according to Rawls, by founding political consensus not on one single conception of the good, as was the case in « classical » liberalism, which would alienate and disregard the other competing views, but by « neutral » principles of justice derived from a political conception of the person. The paper will show that, far from weakening citizens’ participation, a Rawlsian conception of citizenship can be reconstructed. The strength of Rawls’ position as examined through his debate with Habermas, is to provide us with a view of the self and of citizenship that parallels, within the self, the pluralist nature of post-modern society.
pluralism, rights, conceptions of the good, political participation, constitution, moral identity, « Original position », republicanism, liberalism.
JEL Classification: A12, B31.