Citizenship

Citizenship, as we know it, is a technology of modern state power. It is the elementary political form by which people—embodied persons embedded in dense and complex  webs  of  social  relations—are  reduced to “individuals” who may be abstractly figured as “equals” before the law. The modernity of this form of power derives precisely from the notion that the rule   of man (as in a monarchy or an aristocracy) has been irreversibly replaced by the rule of law. As abstract individuals, therefore, all citizens are ostensibly equal, commensurable, effectively interchangeable, as  the law is supposed to apply uniformly to all, and no one is supposed to be enduringly subjected to personalistic and hierarchical forms of domination and dependency. Citizenship therefore  corresponds  to  a  social  order in which everyone is presumed to voluntarily and “freely” engage in exchange, whether it be the exchange of goods for money, or much more commonly, the …

This essay may be found on page 36 of the printed volume.

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