Renewing Post-National Citizenship

Abstract

This essay explores how the critique of national citizenship has evolved over the past 25 years. Specifically, I focus on the literature which grew out of Yasemin Soysal’s seminal work Limits of Citizenship. Soysal argued for a post-national model of membership based on observations that rights traditionally associated with citizenship were becoming increasingly separated from the nation. I explore how, while some have taken up the study of post-national citizenship as a cosmopolitan research agenda, many others have subjected this idea to sustained critique on the basis that the empirical observations on which it rests have not materialised. Indeed, the continued hegemony of the national citizenship model suggests that this is not soon to change. However, I look to the literature on acts of citizenship, itself a major thread of research over the past quarter of a century, to argue that there is scope to reclaim post-nationalism as a fruitful lens for the study of citizenship-as-practice.

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