Political Theorists Elizabeth F. Cohen
and Cyril Ghosh
have written a sharp, concise, and complex analysis of the concept of citizenship, the theoretical origins of the term and idea, and they have provided some contemporary examples of the difficulties surrounding issues of citizenship. As part of the Polity Press series “Key Concepts in Political Theory,” Citizenship
(Polity, 2019) takes the reader through our own approaches to this concept and begins by highlighting how it is not always or often consistently applied and understood. Cohen and Ghosh examine how our modern conceptions of citizenship, and, by extension, state sovereignty and national borders, developed within the western political theory tradition, including how classical thinkers approached the concept and how these ideas contributed to an understanding of the nation, state, or city itself. They move succinctly through modern political thinkers on citizenship and the state, integrating contemporary thought as well as critiques from more recent and diverse theorists. At the same time, Citizenship
explores the concepts and the applications of the concepts to the actual levers of state power and how citizenship works (or, in a variety of contexts, does not work) in practice. This is a thorough-going analysis with many vital and current examples of the difficulties that individuals, and those within certain groups, face in terms of their claims of citizenship. The final chapter delves into the idea and reality of “compromised citizenship” with an outstanding delineation of the different definitions of this status. This chapter also highlights international legal parameters, as well as focusing on specifics cases that provide examples of compromised citizenship. This book is accessible to scholars and interested readers—the authors provide clear examinations of this complex, multi-dimensional idea and policy arena while also analyzing the theory and practice of citizenship as applied in many different contexts.
Lilly J. Goren is professor of Political Science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She co-edited the award-winning Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics
(University Press of Kentucky, 2012).