ABSTRACT

Whereas for the last century and a half, the nation-state has legitimated  the  inclusion/exclusion of  specific social groups  in/from social and political  participation by appealing to criteria of nationality2 (which came to be identified  with citizenship), the emergence and expansion of transnational populations has  raised relevant questions regarding the identification of nationality with citizenship and, as a consequence, has called into question the traditional role of the  nation-state as the guarantor of citizens’ rights. Moreover, the growing numbers  of “immigrants without papers” (so called “illegal immigrants”3) who have no  political or civil and social rights has brought to light some of the cleavages of  a world-system of nation-states, namely, the existence of social groups who are  excluded from the community of citizens that forms the state.4