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Freedom and TimeA Theory of Constitutional Self-Government$
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Jed Rubenfeld

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300080483

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300080483.001.0001

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(p.145) Eight Popularity
Freedom and Time

Jed Rubenfeld

Yale University Press

The status of being an individual is known as individuality and that of being a person as personhood. There is no word to designate the status or condition of being a people. To fill this gap, popularity, which was once synonymous with democracy itself, can be used. According to commitmentarian democracy, a people, understood as an agent that exists over time and across generations, is the proper subject of democratic self-government. Commitmentarian democracy thus requires an account of popularity—that is, of what it means for persons to be a people. This chapter offers a rough working account of popularity. It comments on Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities, in which he talks about the imaginary quality of nations and national peoples. It also considers the distinction between two different understandings of nationhood and argues that speech-modeled popularity is the conception of popularity required by speech-modeled self-government.

Keywords:   popularity, democracy, people, self-government, Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, nations, national peoples, nationhood

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