Citizenship

“Citizenship” has been a key foundational term within modern liberal definitions of rights since the 18th century. In the most basic sense, citizenship is a legal status accorded to subjects of a nation that confers to its members a host of rights, protections, and obligations. Citizenship is the institution through which states may grant or deny such rights and duties to the inhabitants of a national territory, and thereby positions the state as the ultimate arbiter and guarantor of equality and justice. With the rise of the nation-state form, citizenship became a necessity for realizing what had been imagined as inalienable human rights, insofar as these rights could be practically claimed and administered only if recognized by a nation-state entity (Arendt 1968).

At the very heart of the modern idea of citizenship is a universality that is both its emancipatory promise and limit. For example, all subjects who have secured …

This essay may be found on page 20 of the printed volume.

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