ï‚·

A

Set-up

for your Research Question, a brief

lay-of the land

narrative that provides a broad

description of the problem at hand. This general comment shows what brings you to the

issue, often by way of setting down the current scholarly debate, or by describing a scene

from a film, book, or news event.

“The themes of

citizenship

and

community

are being discussed in many quarters of the

left today. This is no doubt a consequence of the crisis of class politics and indicates the

growing awareness of the need for a new form of identification around which to

organize the forces struggling for a radicalization of democracy.”

ï‚·

The

Problem

as you see it, which hints at the Research Question itself. This brief narrative

frames the issue at hand so that you can then ask a specific question for your research.

“I believe that the question of political identity is crucial and that the attempt to

construct

citizens’

identities is one of the more important tasks of democratic politics.

But there are many different versions of citizenship and vital issues are at stake in their

contest. The way we define citizenship is intimately linked to the kind of society and

political community we want.”

ï‚·

The

Research Question

which can take the form of a stated problem (“In this essay I want

to interrogate the ways

ideology

informs our identity-constructs”), or an actual question

(“In what ways does

ideology

determine our identity?) This is the single most important

component of your writing.

“How should we understand

citizenship

when our goal is both a radical and plural

democracy? Such a project requires the creation of a chain of equivalence among

democratic struggles, and therefore the creation of a common political identity among

democratic subjects. For the term

citizens

to actually mean this and function in this

way, what conditions must it meet?”

ï‚·

The

Research Method

and a glimpse of your Researched Argument. This optional narrative

shows how you plan to address the question through research, and how your argument will

emerge from your findings.

“These are the problems that I will address, and I will argue that the key task is how to

conceive of the nature of the political community under modern democratic conditions.

I consider that we need to go beyond the conceptions of citizenship of both the liberal

and civic republican tradition while building on their respective strengths.”

 
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