Voting age requirements in democracies: an analysis from a Dahlian perspective
Postalcıoğlu, İsmail Orhan (2009) Voting age requirements in democracies: an analysis from a Dahlian perspective. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1295905 (Table of Contents)
Although some theorists take age-based exclusion as an essential part of democracy, others try to justify it with reference to the differences between "children" and "adults". One of the most important theories among the latter group is Robert A. Dahl's theory of inclusion. This study aims to liberate the issue of voting age from the controversial terminology of human maturation by showing that democracy looks beyond the dichotomy of "childhood" and "adulthood" when it comes to the right to vote. For this purpose, this thesis offers a four-step test for enfranchisement that encompasses the justifications that have been utilized for excluding certain groups throughout history. Academic and parliamentary debates concerning age-based exclusion are no exception to the validity of this test. Exclusion of "children" is justified via the same justifications. The history of voting age reveals that when "children" play an important role in political life, their inclusion becomes more probable. This observation demonstrates that democracy does not exclude certain individuals because they are "children": it rather labels them as "children" because they maintain to be politically passive. Democratic régimes consider political activism as a positive sign of moral autonomy, which is the main criterion of being included in demos according to Dahl. Turkey, on the other hand, differs from this democratic approach with its top-down focus on régime stability rather than the importance of representation and political awareness for democracy.
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