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Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Politics

  • Date Published: March 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107630338


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About the Authors
  • In every democratic polity there exist individuals and groups who hold some but not all of the essential elements of citizenship. Scholars who study citizenship routinely grasp for shared concepts and language that identify forms of membership held by migrants, children, the disabled, and other groups of individuals who, for various reasons, are neither full citizens nor non-citizens. This book introduces the concept of semi-citizenship as a means to dramatically advance debates about individuals who hold some but not all elements of full democratic citizenship. By analytically classifying the rights of citizenship and their various combinations, scholars can typologize semi-citizens and produce comparisons of different kinds of semi-citizenships and of semi-citizenships in different states. The book uses theoretical analysis, historical examples, and contemporary cases of semi-citizenship to illustrate how normative and governmental doctrines of citizenship converge and conflict, making semi-citizenship an enduring and inevitable part of democratic politics.

    • Offers a means of classifying the kinds of 'semi-citizens' that will advance scholarly discussions of citizenship
    • Engages with theoretical tensions captured within citizenship
    • Combines historical and theoretical discussions of normative and governmental doctrines of citizenship and also examines substantive cases of semi-citizenship
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Tackling the complex realm of 'in between' status positions, Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Politics provides an original and compelling framework for understanding different types of partial citizenship. Cohen provides much-needed clarity to normative debates in political theory over inclusion and exclusion and her rigorous analysis is sure to be of great use to empirically-oriented social scientists.' Leonard Feldman, Hunter College, City University of New York

    'Liberal democrats often argue that full citizenship should be an option for all long-term residents. In this provocative book, Elizabeth Cohen argues that semi-citizens will always be with us, and that there are sometimes good reasons for states to create citizenship categories between full membership and total exclusion. Cohen offers a typology of semi-citizen statuses, and argues that alternatives to full inclusion may furnish sought-after opportunities and mutually beneficial flexibility as well as threats of vulnerability. A useful addition to the burgeoning literature on migration and membership.' Stephen Macedo, Princeton University

    'Elizabeth Cohen has produced a ground-breaking theory of citizenship that challenges and ultimately rejects older treatments of the concept. Her meticulously done study expands our understanding of differing levels of citizenship and how these adversely impact certain groups. Cohen's book represents a major contribution to political theory and migration studies.' Carol Swain, Vanderbilt University

    'In this cogently argued and carefully written work, Elizabeth F. Cohen explores how modern citizenship as a system of entitlements inevitably creates fuzzy and ambiguous bounders around inclusion and exclusion. Cohen generates a new vocabulary to throw sharp analytical light on these conundrums. A work of considerable intellectual maturity, it offers an innovative framework for examining the necessary compromises of liberal democracy around the uncertainties of modern political membership via the legal framework of citizenship. The result is a creative and productive work on the contemporary inadequacies of both the theory and the institutions of citizenship.' Bryan S. Turner, Wellesley College

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107630338
    • length: 250 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The myth of full citizenship
    3. An introduction to semi-citizenship
    4. Logics of semi-citizenship
    5. Nationalities within nation-states
    6. The disaggregation of relative rights
    7. Conclusion

  • Author

    Elizabeth F. Cohen, Syracuse University, New York
    Elizabeth Cohen is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She holds a Ph.D. from Yale University. Her research interests focus on contemporary political theory, citizenship studies, and the politics of immigration. She has published articles in Citizenship Studies and in the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. Her articles and essays address children's citizenship, immigration, asylum, migration policy, same-sex marriage, the civil disabilities of felons and ex-felons, and citizenship in the European Union.

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