chapter  Chapter 1
19 Pages

Introduction 1

ByPeter Eglin

In the spirit of Ivan Illich’s 1968 speech ‘To hell with good intentions’, The Global Citizenship Nexus: Critical Studies takes aim at a ubiquitous form of contemporary ideology, namely the concept of global citizenship. Starting with the motivation for this collection that arose from Chapman’s teaching experience with international service learning, the Introduction sets out the book’s stance – its theoretical perspectives, theoretical argument, empirical basis and chapter organization. The characteristic discourse of global citizenship can be found inhabiting a nexus of four complexes of ‘ruling’ institutions, namely universities, the United Nations and allied international institutions, international non-governmental organizations and foundations, and global corporations and their supporting organizations. The question is: in the context of Northern imperialism and US-led, neoliberal, global, corporate capitalism, what is the concept of global citizenship doing for these institutions? The studies in Parts III–VI of the book put this question to each of these four institutional complexes from broadly political-economic and post-colonial premises, focusing on the concept’s discursive use. The studies in Part II set the stage by addressing the production of the global non-citizen as the global citizen’s ‘other’. Part I consists of this Introduction and an historical account of the concept’s genealogy in US imperial planning.