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Defending Citizenship, Reasserting Sovereignty

  • Steven Loyal
  • Stephen Quilley
Chapter

Abstract

There is an inherent dualism and ambiguity at the centre of modern citizenship that can be traced back to its origins in the French Revolution (Castles and Davidson 2000; Joppke 2008). The revolution gave birth to the modern democratic nation-state, in theory representing the will and interests of the people. Citizenship provided an expanding stratum of the population with equal legal and political rights, which were subsequently, over many years, extended to social rights (Marshall 1950). The linking of rights and civic responsibilities, on the one hand, to membership of a political community, on the other, was a profoundly radical idea that challenged principles of hierarchical privilege that structured traditional societies. The expansionary and universalist aspect of citizenship and statehood derived from what Karl Mannheim referred to as a ‘natural law thought-style’ (Mannheim 1986). But in so far as citizenship requires selection and a discriminatory concept of membership, this radical equalitarian impulse was simultaneously married to a conservative exclusionary principle. Membership units defined at scales below humanity as such necessarily engender unavoidable limits to a universalist, Kantian conception of rights. ‘Citizen’ rights are by definition not ‘human’ rights. As we argued above (see Figs.  2.1,  2.2, and  2.3; Chap.  2), the disembedding of individuals from the place-bound, subsistence livelihoods and feudal hierarchies also engenders new forms of dependence on the abstract functioning of the market and state. In this way citizenship embodies a peculiar and contradictory mix of both inclusionary universalism and exclusionary particularism, egalitarianism and hierarchy, sameness and difference, and natural law and conservative thought-styles.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Loyal
    • 1
  • Stephen Quilley
    • 2
  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland
  2. 2.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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