Women as Passive Citizens in Kant's Theory of Citizenship

  • Serpil Durğun Muş Alparslan Üniversitesi
Keywords: Kant, social contract, active citizen, passive citizen, principle of independence, women's nature


Kant, who is one of the contractarian theorists in political philosophy, positions the person who has the right to vote and participates in the legislative process as a citizen. This positioning is directly related to Kant's attribution of citizenship to the independence precondition. For Kant, independence means that a person possesses a certain amount of ownership which enables him to sustain his life on his own. The person who owns a certain quantity of property is the master of himself as he will not receive orders from the others and will not need the protection of others. Positioning an independent person as an active citizen with political rights, Kant considers persons who are non-owners as passive citizens because they cannot meet the prerequisite for independence. Passive citizens who are deprived of all political rights are merely citizens of the state. According to Kant's argument, women can never move up to the active citizenship status, although the republic has cleared the way for the possibility that every member of the republic could eventually move up to the active citizenship status. The status of being man of property, which is a prerequisite for the independence criterion, loses all its functions when women are in question. Even if a woman is a property owner, this is still considered insufficient for the independence criterion. Kant bases this idea of him on the assumption of women's nature and the prenuptial agreement.


How to Cite
Durğun, S. (2020). Women as Passive Citizens in Kant’s Theory of Citizenship. Kadın/Woman 2000, Journal for Women’s Studies, 21(2), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.33831/jws.v21i2.112