Formal education is crucial for creating enlightened and active citizens. The better educated are more engaged, more knowledgeable, and more politically tolerant. Despite a dramatic increase in education attainment over the last quarter century, political engagement has not risen at a commensurate level. How and why education affects citizenship in these ways has until now been a puzzle.
Norman H. Nie, Jane Junn, and Kenneth Stehlik-Barry provide answers by uncovering the causal relationship between education and democratic citizenship. They argue that citizenship encompasses both political engagement in pursuit of interests and commitment to democratic values that temper what citizens can do to win in politics. Education affects the two dimensions in distinct ways. Especially significant is the influence of education on political engagement through occupational prominence and position in social networks. Formal education orders the distribution of social position and connections and creates an uneven political playing field.
Combining anthropological methods and theories with political philosophy, Sian Lazar analyzes everyday practices and experiences of citizenship in a satellite city to the Bolivian capital of La Paz: El Alto, where more than three-quarters of the population identify as indigenous Aymara. For several years, El Alto has been at the heart of resistance to neoliberal market reforms, such as the export of natural resources and the privatization of public water systems. In October 2003, protests centered in El Alto forced the Bolivian president to resign; in December 2005, the country’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, was elected. The growth of a strong social justice movement in Bolivia has caught the imagination of scholars and political activists worldwide. El Alto remains crucial to this ongoing process. In El Alto, Rebel City Lazar examines the values, practices, and conflicts behind the astonishing political power exercised by El Alto citizens in the twenty-first century.
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 1997 and 2004, Lazar contends that in El Alto, citizenship is a set of practices defined by one’s participation in a range of associations, many of them collectivist in nature. Her argument challenges Western liberal notions of the citizen by suggesting that citizenship is not only individual and national but in many ways communitarian and distinctly local, constituted through different kinds of affiliations. Since in El Alto these affiliations most often emerge through people’s place of residence and their occupational ties, Lazar offers in-depth analyses of neighborhood associations and trade unions. In so doing, she describes how the city’s various collectivities mediate between the state and the individual. Collective organization in El Alto and the concept of citizenship underlying it are worthy of attention; they are the basis of the city’s formidable power to mobilize popular protest.
When Czechoslovakia became independent in 1918, Czechs embraced democracy, which they saw as particularly suited to their national interests. Politicians enthusiastically supported a constitution that proclaimed all citizens, women as well as men, legally equal. But they soon found themselves split over how to implement this pledge. Some believed democracy required extensive egalitarian legislation. Others contended that any commitment to equality had to bow before other social interests, such as preserving the traditional family.
On the eve of World War II, Czech leaders jettisoned the young republic for an “authoritarian democracy” that firmly placed their nation, and not the individual citizen, at the center of politics. In 1948, they turned to a Communist-led “people's democracy,” which also devalued individual rights.
By examining specific policy issues, including marriage and family law, civil service regulations, citizenship law, and abortion statutes, Elusive Equality demonstrates the relationship between Czechs' ideas about gender roles and their attitudes toward democracy. Gradually, many Czechs became convinced that protecting a traditionally gendered family ideal was more important to their national survival than adhering to constitutionally prescribed standards of equal citizenship. Through extensive original research, Melissa Feinberg assembles a compelling account of how early Czech progress in women's rights, tied to democratic reforms, eventually lost momentum in the face of political transformations and the separation of state and domestic issues. Moreover, Feinberg presents a prism through which our understanding of twentieth-century democracy is deepened, and a cautionary tale for all those who want to make democratic governments work.
As widespread environmental degradation threatens the basic human rights of a large proportion of the world’s population, we are also confronting the worst migration crisis in the modern era. Emerging Threats to Human Rights searches among the interrelated causes of these overlapping crises. The editor and contributors to this timely anthology assess how environmental resources, state violence, and the deprivation of nationality/citizenship are linked to gain a better understanding of how human rights abuses intersect with patterns of migration.
As some refugees flee violence at home, they arrive in an asylum country only to experience violence at the hands of the native population. Likewise, those denied citizenship rights in their country become vulnerable to human traffickers and other rights violations when they flee.
Bringing together scholars of resource dilemmas, violence, and citizenship as well as lawyers and human rights practitioners, Emerging Threats to Human Rights begins by identifying the core causes of human rights violations confronting our world today. Chapters also consider whether and to what extent these emerging threats to human rights serve as drivers of displacement.
Europe’s imperial projects were often predicated on a series of legal and scientific distinctions that were frequently challenged by the reality of social and sexual interactions between the colonized and the colonizers.When Emmanuelle Saada discovered a 1928 decree defining the status of persons of mixed parentage born in French Indochina—the métis—she found not only a remarkable artifact of colonial rule, but a legal bombshell that introduced race into French law for the first time. The decree was the culmination of a decades-long effort to resolve the “métis question”: the educational, social, and civil issues surrounding the mixed population. Operating at the intersection of history, anthropology, and law, Empire’s Children reveals the unacknowledged but central role of race in the definition of French nationality.
Through extensive archival work in both France and Vietnam, and a close reading of primary and secondary material from the Pacific islands and sub-Saharan and North Africa, Saada has created in Empire’s Children an original and compelling perspective on colonialism, law, race, and culture from the end of the nineteenth century until decolonization.
First published in French in 2010, Equaliberty brings together essays by Étienne Balibar, one of the preeminent political theorists of our time. The book is organized around equaliberty, a term coined by Balibar to connote the tension between the two ideals of modern democracy: equality (social rights and political representation) and liberty (the freedom citizens have to contest the social contract). He finds the tension between these different kinds of rights to be ingrained in the constitution of the modern nation-state and the contemporary welfare state. At the same time, he seeks to keep rights discourse open, eschewing natural entitlements in favor of a deterritorialized citizenship that could be expanded and invented anew in the age of globalization. Deeply engaged with other thinkers, including Arendt, Rancière, and Laclau, he posits a theory of the polity based on social relations. In Equaliberty Balibar brings both the continental and analytic philosophical traditions to bear on the conflicted relations between humanity and citizenship.
Who is to be included in a political community and on what terms? William A. Barbieri Jr. seeks answers to these questions in this exploration of the controversial concept of citizenship rights—a concept directly related to the nature of democracy, equality, and cultural identity. Through an examination of the case of Germany’s settled “guestworkers” and their families, Ethics of Citizenship investigates the pressing problem of political membership in a world marked by increased migration, rising nationalist sentiment, and the ongoing reorganization of states through both peaceful and violent means. Although some of Germany’s foreign workers have gradually attained a degree of social and economic legitimacy, Barbieri explains how they remain effectively excluded from true German citizenship. Describing how this exclusion has occurred and assessing current attitudes toward political membership in Germany, he argues for a just and democratic policy toward the tax-paying, migrant worker minority, one that would combine the extension of the individual rights of citizenship with the establishment of certain group rights. Through a dissection of ongoing public “membership debates” over issues such as suffrage, dual citizenship, and immigration and refugee policy, Barbieri identifies a range of competing responses to the question of who “belongs” in Germany. After critiquing these views, he proposes an alternative ethic of membership rooted in an account of domination and human rights that seeks to balance individual and group rights within the context of a commitment to democracy and equal citizenship. Indispensable for scholars of German studies, Ethics of Citizenship also raises questions that will attract moral philosophers, constitutional scholars, and those interested in the continuing, global problems associated with migration.
How does an immigrant become an ethnic American? And does American society fundamentally alter because of these newcomers?
In Ethnic Routes to Becoming American, Sharmila Rudrappa examines the paths South Asian immigrants in Chicago take toward assimilation in the late twentieth-century United States, where deliberations on citizenship rights are replete with the politics of recognition. She takes us inside two ethnic institutions, a battered women’s shelter, Apna Ghar, and a cultural organization, the Indo American Center, to show how immigrant activism, which brings cultural difference into public sphere debates, ironically abets these immigrants’ assimilation. She interlaces ethnographic details with political-philosophical debates on the politics of recognition and redistribution. In this study on the under-researched topic of the incorporation of South Asian immigrants into the American polity, Sharmila Rudrappa compels us to rethink ethnic activism, participatory democracy, and nation-building processes.
In The Ethos of a Late-Modern Citizen, Stephen K. White contends that Western democracies face novel challenges demanding our reexamination of the role of citizens. White argues that the intense focus in the past three decades on finding general principles of justice for diversity-rich societies needs to be complemented by an exploration of what sort of ethos would be needed to adequately sustain any such principles. Accessible, pithy, and erudite, The Ethos of a Late-Modern Citizen will appeal to a wide audience.