challenging — issues facing modern democracies today H u m a n i t i e s
Write a 1,500-1,800-word double-spaced paper on ONE of the following options:
- The bounds of political membership—deciding who belongs to a political community and on what terms—has become an increasingly important and controversial topic of debate in recent years. In particular, there have been serious challenges to the idea that the boundaries of national communities are relatively fixed and stable. With reference to the concepts and arguments contained in at least three works read this semester, 1) identify what some of these major challenges to the existing bounds of political community are, and 2) explain what, if anything, should be done to deal with these challenges.
- It is often said that the legitimacy of modern democracies rests (at least in part) on their commitment to principles such as openness, toleration, and diversity. Do you think that commitment to these and related principles imposes special obligations towards migrants on the part of modern democracies? In formulating your response, address the following questions: What obligations, if any, do modern democracies have toward different kinds of migrants? If modern democracies do have obligations towards various kinds of migrants, what are the reasons or grounds for these obligations? Does the specific status of the migrant matter in determining the obligations of modern democracies (i.e., whether the migrant is a voluntary immigrant seeking better economic opportunities or a forcibly displaced person seeking asylum)? Develop your response with reference to the concepts and arguments contained in at least three works read this semester.
- The integration of immigrants is one of the most salient—and challenging—issues facing modern democracies today. There is universal agreement that immigrants have an obligation to obey the same laws that apply to citizens, but there is no consensus on any other obligations, responsibilities, or duties that immigrants owe to the societies that receive them. With reference to at least three works assigned in this course, discuss the obligations, responsibilities, and duties of immigrants. In your response, you should consider the following questions: Do the reasons for migrating matter? Does it matter whether the immigrant is, for instance, a refugee or an economic migrant? Do the obligations, responsibilities, and duties of immigrants extend to cultural, economic, or social matters? Should the obligations, responsibilities, and duties of immigrants be the same as those of citizens, or should they be different? Why?
- Throughout the semester we have examined some of the tensions and inconsistencies between the actual practices and the stated ideals of liberal democratic societies such as the United States. In particular, the treatment of “others” (i.e., those who differ from “us” in some way, whether they are citizens, lawful permanent residents, or undocumented immigrants) does not always match the principles that liberal democratic societies claim to uphold. With reference to at least three works assigned in this course, propose up to three changes—aside from changes in formal laws, rules, and institutions—that liberal democratic citizens can make to bring their practices closer to their avowed principles. In your response, you should 1) clearly identify and discuss one specific way that theory and practice in dealing with others who are different are in tension, 2) clearly identify and discuss between one and three specific changes in habits, behaviors, attitudes, and practices that democratic citizens can make to close the gap between theory and practice, and 3) note what the likely effects of the change(s) you propose would be. Your discussion can refer to any particular liberal democratic society (i.e., you do not need to limit your discussion to the United States).