Comments on Responsible Citizens, Irresponsible States

Analysis 84 (1):146–157 (2024)
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What is it that makes us as citizens liable for the actions – including the wrongdoings – of our state? Answering this question is part of the larger debate on the nature of complicity and collective action. When are we connected to joint endeavours and collective outcomes in a way that makes us (on some level) responsible for them? Of particular interest within this debate is the normative relationship of citizens to their state. For instance, when states pay reparations for past crimes the costs are – one way or another – borne by their citizens. In Responsible Citizens, Irresponsible States (OUP 2021), Avia Pasternak examines with admirable clarity and circumspection if states are justified in imposing the cost of their past wrongdoings on all of their citizens, including those who played no obvious part in those crimes.

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Anne Schwenkenbecher
Murdoch University


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