Citizenship, Professionalism and Modernity: Revisiting the Conceptions of Citizen Between West European and Modern China from the Perspective of Functional Differentiation

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:35
Location: Hörsaal 21 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Po-Fang TSAI, Taipei Medical University, Taiwan
This paper attempts to scrutinize the genealogy of citizenship, in order to contribute to the historical comparison on the constitution of political subject, the modernity between Western European and Chinese society. The concept of citizen rooted in European history and social context mainly appears in two distinctive modulus and their respective sub-models: pre-modern one including the Greek/Roman, Christian/Middle-Age, and Enlightenment/Natural Law; modern one including the Modern/Revolutionary, Nation-State, and Post-nationality. Although there are some differences between the modulus, the theoretical genealogy is written in terms of “political community”. However, a sociological perspective can propose a distinctive observation on this genealogical writing. Sociological analysis not only accepts the assumption that the concept of citizenship concerns the membership of political community and the rights-obligation attached to members, but also reflects on the theoretical implication that the functional-differentiation principle in modern society, rather than the hierarchical-differentiation principle in pre-modern society, bring into the uni-dimensionality existed in the genealogy of citizenship. In this regards, the theme of “the rise of professional society” in the 19th century constitutes a crucial historical evidence, provoking a new genealogy of citizenship that differs from the “noble/bourgeoisie/middle class/working class” convention, a narrative based on the hierarchical-differentiation viewpoint. In sum, this paper first examines the elective affinity between modern profession and modern citizen in the 18-19th century through the theoretical viewpoint of functional-differentiation, and then referentially compares the distinctive roads of citizenship in modern Chinese society (the late 19th to the early 20th century) and European society (between the 18th-20th century), in terms of the sociological genealogy of citizenship, which is a reconstructed political modernity.