Étienne Balibar · ISBN 9780745682419
Citizenship | Zookal Textbooks | Zookal Textbooks
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Publisher John Wiley & Sons (UK)
Author(s) Étienne Balibar
Published 5th June 2015
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If fundamental political categories were represented as
geometric shapes, citizenship would be one of those rotating
polyhedrons with reflective surfaces that together create effects
of light and shade. With extraordinarily acute discernment, the
leading philosopher Étienne Balibar examines one by one the
various faces of this object, more numerous - and far more fissured
- than one would imagine. The question of what it means to be a
citizen has, from the dawn of Western politics, been anything but
clear and straightforward; and modernity has shown it to be even
more enigmatic and contested.

Inseparable from democracy, and the demands for equality and
liberty from which democracy draws its origins, citizenship is
constantly being redefined within the unresolved contradiction
between universal principles and the discriminatory mechanisms that
regulate membership of a political community.

Not everyone is a citizen, even within one nation-state. It has
been said that ?certain persons are in society without being of
society?. The dynamics of inclusion and exclusion continue to
generate dramatic asymmetries and create openings and closures,
especially today in a time of particular fragility and when
national sovereignty is in flux. So are there too many antinomies
within citizenship? Balibar does not shy away from these
antimonies, but he knows that to renounce citizenship would be to
abandon the chance to create new modes of collective autonomy, in
short, to democratize democracy.

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