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The Citizen and the Alien

The Citizen and the Alien: Dilemmas of Contemporary Membership

Linda Bosniak
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    The Citizen and the Alien
    Book Description:

    Citizenship presents two faces. Within a political community it stands for inclusion and universalism, but to outsiders, citizenship means exclusion. Because these aspects of citizenship appear spatially and jurisdictionally separate, they are usually regarded as complementary. In fact, the inclusionary and exclusionary dimensions of citizenship dramatically collide within the territory of the nation-state, creating multiple contradictions when it comes to the class of people the law calls aliens--transnational migrants with a status short of full citizenship. Examining alienage and alienage law in all of its complexities,The Citizen and the Alienexplores the dilemmas of inclusion and exclusion inherent in the practices and institutions of citizenship in liberal democratic societies, especially the United States. In doing so, it offers an important new perspective on the changing meaning of citizenship in a world of highly porous borders and increasing transmigration.

    As a particular form of noncitizenship, alienage represents a powerful lens through which to examine the meaning of citizenship itself, argues Linda Bosniak. She uses alienage to examine the promises and limits of the "equal citizenship" ideal that animates many constitutional democracies. In the process, she shows how core features of globalization serve to shape the structure of legal and social relationships at the very heart of national societies.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2751-0
    Subjects: Political Science, Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiii)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Divided Citizenships
    (pp. 1-16)

    Political and legal thought today are suffused with talk of citizenship. Whether the focus is equal citizenship or democratic citizenship or social citizenship or multicultural citizenship, whether the preoccupation is with civil society citizenship or workplace citizenship or corporate citizenship or postnational citizenship, some version ofcitizenshipis now vital to the intellectual projects of scholars across the disciplines. Citizenship talk pervades our popular political discourse as well.

    Citizenship, however, is a more confounding concept than most who employ the word usually recognize. Citizenship is commonly portrayed as the most desired of conditions, as the highest fulfillment of democratic and...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Defining Citizenship: Substance, Locations, and Subjects
    (pp. 17-36)

    The past two decades have seen a huge outpouring of scholarly interest in the subject of citizenship. Probably no subject commands more persistent attention across the disciplines: the idea of citizenship figures centrally in constitutional theory, in political philosophy, in social theory, in cultural studies, and in legal studies. Nor does any other concept better satisfy so many kinds of normative appetites at once. Citizenship is championed by civic republicans, participatory democrats, cultural radicals, communitarians, egalitarian liberals, and sometimes social conservatives, all of whom have claimed it as a fulfillment of their particular moral vision.

    Any concept that can mean...

  6. CHAPTER 3 The Difference That Alienage Makes
    (pp. 37-76)

    In most countries, some set of rights and benefits are reserved to people who possess that country’s citizenship status. This means that individuals who lack citizenship status—who are designated by law as “aliens”—are denied the full enjoyment of social, political, and civil rights in the receiving society, at least for some period. People differ on the question of how accessible citizenship status should be in the first instance, but most agree that, once acquired, possession of citizenship status should be legally consequential for some purposes.¹

    But for which purposes, and when? Citizenship distinctions have often been controversial in...

  7. CHAPTER 4 Constitutional Citizenship through the Prism of Alienage
    (pp. 77-101)

    Notwithstanding Alexander Bickel’s declaration a generation ago that the concept of citizenship is of little significance in American constitutional law,¹ the idea of citizenship has enjoyed a huge resurgence of interest in constitutional law scholarship in recent years. Much of the literature concerned with citizenship today deploys the concept in the mode of normative political theory, with scholars embracing it as an aspirational ideal for our national political life. Citizenship is portrayed in this literature as embodying the highest political values: democracy, egalitarianism, pluralism, civic virtue, community—and sometimes all of these at once.

    Constitutional theorists’ decidedly romantic preoccupation with...

  8. CHAPTER 5 Borders, Domestic Work, and the Ambiguities of Citizenship
    (pp. 102-121)

    Citizenship talk, as we have seen, trades in both universalism and particularism. From an internal perspective, the citizenship ideal is warm and inclusive, extending, in theory, to embrace “everyone.” But this embrace is, in fact, circumscribed; the ideal of citizenship, from a boundary-conscious perspective, is exclusive, demarcating not merely a class of national community members but also, in the process, a class of community outsiders. And since citizenship’s boundaries are not fully coextensive with territorial borders but extend into the national society’s interior, these two understandings of citizenship—the universal and the exclusive—sometimes run up against each other on...

  9. CHAPTER 6 Separate Spheres Citizenship and Its Conundrums
    (pp. 122-140)

    How should we think about the status of noncitizens in liberal democratic societies? For many political and legal theorists, as I have shown, the conceptual and normative dilemmas associated with status noncitizenship are more or less invisible. Yet increasing numbers of scholars and advocates have begun to focus directly on matters of citizenship status and the implications of its absence. Especially in the past decade, the category of alienage has garnered substantial attention within the burgeoning cross-disciplinary field of immigration studies.

    Much of this literature is historical or empirical in character. But there is also a growing stream of scholarship...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 141-214)
  11. Index
    (pp. 215-222)