Republican citizenship and freedom. The foundation of the concept of autonomy in the political constructivism of John Rawls

Carlos Medina Labayru


The idea of autonomy that Rawls presents in the second stage of his work – in Political Liberalism and in Justice as Fairness – is not only limited to the traditional conception of autonomy as a claiming of rights. Strictly speaking, it is not a legal concept but one that is “constructed”. The underlying theme of this construction is the difference that, ultimately, he establishes between mere “political autonomy” and a specific concept – constructed – of autonomy, conceived in the context of the original position. The latter concept – that of “full autonomy” – as a theoretical device different from the traditional notion of “political autonomy”, describes rather an ideal state, or realization of the freedom that political rights protect. This added aspect embodies, inside the theoretical construct, the normative content of Rawls’ proposal, of clear Republican inspiration. The analysis indeed shows that, in the end, it is this concept of full autonomy, and not the traditional legal notion of political autonomy, that is the real key supporting the argument that Rawls makes as to the stability of the well-organized society.

Keywords: autonomy, republicanism, political identity, political constructivism.


ISSN: 1984-8234 - Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [Updated on September 23, 2016].

São Leopoldo, RS. Av. Unisinos, 950. Bairro Cristo Rei, CEP: 93.022-750. Atendimento Unisinos +55 (51) 3591 1122 Ext.: 3219

SCImago Journal & Country RankCrossref Member Badge Crossref Similarity Check logo