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Multilingual parties and the ethics of partisanship

Matteo Bonotti, Monash University

Tue 20 November 2018

The Dryzek Room, Building 22, University of Canberra


This paper argues that multilingual political parties, i.e. parties that exist and operate across linguistic boundaries by using different languages, are normatively superior to those that use a lingua franca at realizing some of the key goals of partisanship. These involve promoting the common good; educating party members and citizens in general; fostering an attitude to toleration and compromise; and offering a linkage between citizens and government. The paper has important implications for debates on the role of linguistic diversity in democratic theory and practice, and on the challenges of multilingualism in polities such as the European Union.

About the speaker

Matteo Bonotti is a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Monash University, having previous taught at Cardiff University, Queen’s University Belfast, and the University of Edinburgh. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as the American Political Science Review, The Journal of Politics, the Journal of Applied Philosophy, the European Journal of Political Theory, Philosophy & Social Criticism, the Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, the Journal of Social Philosophy, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, and Res Publica. His monograph Partisanship and Political Liberalism in Diverse Societies was published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

Matteo's research interests are diverse but unified by a common underlying theme: ethical pluralism and cultural diversity in contemporary societies, and the question of how the state should respond to them. Matteo is currently writing a monograph (with Anne Barnhill, Johns Hopkins University) on healthy eating policy and liberal political philosophy, which is under contract with Oxford University Press. His general research interests also include linguistic justice, free speech, religion and political theory, and the normative dimensions of partisanship.

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