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Unformatted text preview: 1992). Following these three thinkers, I assume the following meaning for agency -- agency is the ability to act and speak publicly with meaningful intentions in such a way as to have an effect on the world. It requires the ability to interpret those actions in ways that may not always be communicable at first, but do presume some sense of shared meaning (Taylor, 1985: 25).18 Furthermore, following Arendt, the ability to act is central to the creation of the political sphere. Without action, politics could not take place, for it is through actions that communities are constituted. Finally following Flath man, strong notions of agency are necessary for liberal and democratic citizenship. Unless individuals can think and act qua individuals, they will be unable to create a political community in which their rights are protected. Agency is a necessary, although not sufficient, condition for creation of a community that respects civil and political rights. While this definition cannot be considered final, the elements of meaningfulness, publicness and willfulness are all central to the understanding of agency I am using here. How does the attribution of state responsibility undermine individual agency? Because the attribution of state responsibility does not depend on the responsibility of individuals within the state, there is a prima facie sense in which individual agency is irrelevant to considerations of international responsibility. While being irrelevant does not cause something to disappear, it certainly does not help in making that thing an important consideration. But even more importantly, certain manifestations of state responsibility tend to undermine individual responsibility and agency. This article focuses on three aspects of agency -- physical, legal and political. Each one of these aspects of agency is necessary to be an active citizen as opposed to simply a pliant subject of a community. Physical agency means having a level of health and welfare that would allow one to pursue political ac...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13