chapter  24
Performances of citizenship in the Caribbean
ByMimi Sheller
Pages 11

The creation of the universal systems of national citizenship found throughout the Americas today can be seen as the outcome of long historical struggles in which enslaved and indentured workers, women and other dependants, indigenous peoples, peasants, migrants, and refugees have both challenged regimes of exclusionary citizenship and negotiated with states and with existing citizenries for inclusion. In taking up positions as citizens and claiming fundamental human rights, formerly excluded indigenous, enslaved, and indentured people – and their descendants – have played a crucial part in contesting these exclusions, broadening the scope of freedom, and performing new embodiments of citizenship. Today, however, citizenship remains both an inclusionary and an exclusionary process. Modern forms of citizenship are tied to histories of expulsion of indigenous and aboriginal groups across the Americas, alongside farreaching systems of slavery, indentureship, and their associated global migrations. Citizenship, moreover, remains embedded in local contexts of practice that are deeply implicated in ongoing processes of emancipation. Here I focus especially on the Caribbean context.