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Citizenship and Its Exclusions

Citizenship and Its Exclusions: A Classical, Constitutional, and Critical Race Critique

Ediberto Román
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Citizenship and Its Exclusions
    Book Description:

    Citizenship is generally viewed as the most desired legal status an individual can attain, invoking the belief that citizens hold full inclusion in a society, and can exercise and be protected by the Constitution. Yet this membership has historically been exclusive and illusive for many, and in Citizenship and Its Exclusions, Ediberto Roman offers a sweeping, interdisciplinary analysis of citizenship's contradictions.Roman offers an exploration of citizenship that spans from antiquity to the present, and crosses disciplines from history to political philosophy to law, including constitutional and critical race theories. Beginning with Greek and Roman writings on citizenship, he moves on to late-medieval and Renaissance Europe, then early Modern Western law, and culminates his analysis with an explanation of how past precedents have influenced U.S. law and policy regulating the citizenship status of indigenous and territorial island people, as well as how different levels of membership have created a de facto subordinate citizenship status for many members of American society, often lumped together as the underclass.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6900-3
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  4. 1 Introduction: The Citizenship Construct
    (pp. 1-14)

    Imagine that you reside in a country not unlike the United States, with a similar cultural, economic, racial, and ethnic mix. As in many other countries, the events of September 11, 2001, dramatically changed the lives of the inhabitants of your land. Your country passed a series of special laws specifi-cally designed to enhance national security, and has joined the United States in its military efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Your country’s law enforcement and military officials, in several high-profile arrests that captured the attention of the populace, took three suspects into custody who allegedly were involved in terrorist-related activities....

  5. 2 The Creation of the Concept: The Classical Period
    (pp. 15-28)

    Originating in the minds of Athenian philosophers like Plato and Aristotle and political leaders like Solon and Lycurgus, the concept of citizenship served a pivotal role in the development of the Western world and of democratic order itself. Indeed, ever since the times of the ancient Greeks, citizenship was expressed as the right to be a formal member of the political community known as the city-state; the citizen’s key power was the right to participate and perhaps even to use that right to rule. As one scholar recently put it, “Citizenship has expressed a right to being political, a right...

  6. 3 The City-States of the Dark Ages
    (pp. 29-48)

    Since the beginning of the concept, citizenship was a critical element of nation building and the very development of democracy in the Western sense. It is therefore not surprising that citizenship has reflected, in form and content, the historical development of ancient territories into what eventually came to be known as nation-states.¹ The concept of citizenship after the end of the ancient world was at first in jeopardy, as was the Western world itself. In fact, after the collapse of the Roman Empire in the wake of the invasions and control by various Germanic peoples, citizenship was almost lost as...

  7. 4 The Movement toward Nascent Nation-States
    (pp. 49-54)

    As the previous chapter illustrated, the fall of the Roman Empire and the coming of the Dark Ages ushered in a new time and place for citizenship. Long gone was the notion that one had to be from a particular city in order to reap the benefits of citizenship. Also gone was the great Roman Empire that could, with little pause, bestow the status of citizen on the inhabitants of conquered lands. A European world emerged, which had to regroup after the fall of what was arguably history’s greatest empire. In many respects, it was a world in disarray. Not...

  8. 5 The Philosophical Influence of the Enlightenment
    (pp. 55-82)

    Contemporary domestic citizenship theory was mightily influenced by the Enlightenment over and above the continuing pull of ancient Greco-Roman constructions, the legacy of the Dark Ages, and the writings of early pre-Renaissance theorists. Modern rhetorical constructions of citizenship followed Western notions of equality and focused on the mutuality of rights and obligations of citizenship. The contribution of the Enlightenment theorists was a remedy to the dearth of ancient and medieval writings on the importance of equality of membership. The following pages will examine these important theorists and the role they played in our contemporary notions of democracy and citizenship theory....

  9. 6 The De Jure Subordinates
    (pp. 83-118)

    As the preceding chapters demonstrate, Western societies have followed the pattern set by the ancient world concerning the citizenship construct. From the classical period to the Renaissance, influential theorists and politicians repeatedly extolled the virtues and necessity of equal citizenship within a democracy. Though the dominant discourse focused on equality, the practice of granting citizenship was far more exclusionary. This pattern was practiced with zeal in the United States’ development of the construct.

    In fact, little of the modern domestic discourse on citizenship questions the concept of equality, let alone accepts that there exist differentiated levels of membership for subordinate...

  10. 7 The De Facto Subordinates?
    (pp. 119-146)

    This chapter examines the second, and more controversial, component of the theory of citizenship as it pertains to the United States. Specifi-cally, the question posed here is whether there are in factde factosubordinate citizens in the United States. In other words, this chapter questions whether certain groups in American society, such as African Americans, remain subordinate members of society despite being granted formal legal membership. While other formerde juresubordinates, such as women, fit within this inquiry, issues addressed here will be whether certain racial and ethnic minorities, such as African Americans and Mexican Americans, continue to...

  11. 8 A New Vision of Citizenship?
    (pp. 147-158)

    Unfortunately, not unlike the fictional tale set forth in the beginning of this book, the above hypothetical is based on actual events. InBoumediene v. Bush,¹ the Supreme Court of the United States recognized certain constitu tional rights for the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, but in doing so, further confirmed the disenfranchised status of millions of U.S. citizens living in U.S. dependent territories. The reason why the Court, in an essentially criminal case pertaining to noncitizens, dealt with the rights of overseas-island-inhabitant U.S. citizens is that the government argued that the Constitution did not fully apply abroad.² The Court therefore...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 159-200)
  13. Index
    (pp. 201-208)
  14. About the Author
    (pp. 209-209)