chapter  6
20 Pages

Unwanted and ambivalent citizenship

WithTendayi Bloom

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In liberal political thought, citizenship is often taken uncritically to be emancipatory and so also to be desirable. Citizenship is made desirable within a system based upon liberal democratic principles because there is no other officially acknowledged option available within that system. The struggle for citizenship has, been the struggle for representation, for rights, and for recognition in the absence of an alternative. By acknowledging that citizenship may be unwanted and that noncitizenships may be rationally claimed, it is possible to provide a more complex characterisation of the reality of the States built upon liberal democratic principles. In the mythology of early settler Americans, citizenship represented a rejection of monarchy, of imposed foreign rule, and a rejection of inherited privilege. Distrust of plural citizenship is not only about concerns relating to the shared allegiance of formal citizens. It is also tied up with assumptions about birth, blood, ethnicity and race.