Introduction: Equal Citizenship and Social Inequality

  • João Carlos Espada
Part of the St Antony’s Series book series


The idea that individuals have rights which are prior to, and compelling over, governments has a long and well-established tradition in political theory, especially within families of thought with liberal affiliation. Although it has never ceased to be a controversial tradition, its acceptance seems to have enlarged during the second half of the twentieth century. And yet, this apparently growing acceptance has not brought controversies to an end. Somehow, it has produced only a metamorphosis in the framework within which the discussion evolves: now, not so much between those who do and those who do not accept the idea that individuals have rights, but mainly between different interpretations of this idea; and also between different views on what should or should not be the realm of rights.


Social Inequality Political Theory Money Income Final Distinction Positive Duty 
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Copyright information

© João Carlos Espada 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Carlos Espada
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Social SciencesUniversity of LisbonPortugal

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