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Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship

Edited by Sigal R. Ben-Porath and Rogers M. Smith

Publication Year: 2012

In Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship, scholars from a wide range of disciplines reflect on the transformation of the world away from the absolute sovereignty of independent nation-states and on the proliferation of varieties of plural citizenship. The emergence of possible new forms of allegiance and their effect on citizens and on political processes underlie the essays in this volume.

The essays reflect widespread acceptance that we cannot grasp either the empirical realities or the important normative issues today by focusing only on sovereign states and their actions, interests, and aspirations. All the contributors accept that we need to take into account a great variety of globalizing forces, but they draw very different conclusions about those realities. For some, the challenges to the sovereignty of nation-states are on the whole to be regretted and resisted. These transformations are seen as endangering both state capacity and state willingness to promote stability and security internationally. Moreover, they worry that declining senses of national solidarity may lead to cutbacks in the social support systems many states provide to all those who reside legally within their national borders. Others view the system of sovereign nation-states as the aspiration of a particular historical epoch that always involved substantial problems and that is now appropriately giving way to new, more globally beneficial forms of political association. Some contributors to this volume display little sympathy for the claims on behalf of sovereign states, though they are just as wary of emerging forms of cosmopolitanism, which may perpetuate older practices of economic exploitation, displacement of indigenous communities, and military technologies of domination. Collectively, the contributors to this volume require us to rethink deeply entrenched assumptions about what varieties of sovereignty and citizenship are politically possible and desirable today, and they provide illuminating insights into the alternative directions we might choose to pursue.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press


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pp. iii-iii


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pp. iv-iv


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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1-12

Many, perhaps most, adults today who were born and educated in advanced industrial societies grew up with a picture of the world that seemed commonsensical and oft en comforting. For them, the world’s territory was divided up among sovereign states, each with its own unique, generally stable body ...


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Chapter 1. Sovereignty Out of Joint

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pp. 15-34

Consensus indicates that we are seeing a crisis of authority as we have understood it in the modern era. Th e modern territorial nation- state’s writ is challenged by global integration on the one hand and subnational fragmentation on the other. To situate these concerns within a broader historical trajectory, I ask two ...

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Chapter 2. War, Rights, and Contention: Lasswell v. Tilly

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pp. 35-57

As war clouds gathered over Eu rope and Asia in the early 1940s, Harold Lasswell feared the coming of a garrison state, “a world in which the specialists on violence are the most powerful group in society.” Lasswell worried that as state power expanded to prepare for and fight wars, technology tied to militarism ...

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Chapter 3. Subcontracting Sovereignty: The Afterlife of Proxy War

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pp. 58-74

In his stirring manifesto Good Muslim, Bad Muslim, Mahmood Mamdani suggests that U.S. proxy wars in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have changed the global political landscape.1 By arming ethnic, religious, and political splinter groups as so- called counterinsurgents, and giving them the job of deposing ...

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Chapter 4. In Conflict: Sovereignty, Identity, Counterinsurgency

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pp. 75-94

What is the place of an essay on counterinsurgency in a volume on sovereignty and multiple citizenships? The question seems an apt one to begin with, for it could be argued that counterinsurgency is a strategy of war— increasingly the preferred strategy of the war on terror, from the 2007 Iraq surge ...


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Chapter 5. Citizen Terrorists and the Challenges of Plural Citizenship

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pp. 97-110

Americans commonly think of terrorists as foreigners, typically from the Mideast or “Afpak” region. Probability, not xenophobia, underlies this belief, given the background of most known terrorists and the hundreds of millions of people around the world who despise America’s liberal culture, its sturdy ...

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Chapter 6. Immigration, Causality, and Complicity

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pp. 111-123

Political philosophy has at last begun to take immigration seriously. Aft er a long period during which most phi los o phers wrote as if no one ever joined a state except through birth, nor left a state except via death, we have begun to examine the morality of restrictions on immigration. We have, accordingly, begun ...

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Chapter 7. The Missing Link: Rootedness as a Basis for Membership

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pp. 124-146

At the heart of contemporary immigration debates lies a fundamental tension between the competing visions of “a nation of laws” and that of “a nation of immigrants.” This is particularly evident in the American context.1 The nation- of- laws camp maintains that people who have breached the country’s immigration ...


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Chapter 8. World Government Is Here!

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pp. 149-164

World government has long been the great bogeyman of international political theorizing. It spooked Immanuel Kant. At one point in his essay Perpetual Peace he speaks of it as a “soulless despotism” that would threaten to “choke the seeds of good.”1 It has similarly spooked generations of writers ever since. But what ...

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Chapter 9. If You Need a Friend, Don’t Call a Cosmopolitan

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pp. 166-188

As a political doctrine, cosmopolitanism seems to have two distinct roots. One is dedication to equality. As David Held has put it, “the first principle” of cosmopolitan morality “is that the ultimate units of moral concern are individual human beings, not states or other particular forms of human ...

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Chapter 10. The Physico-Material Bases of Cosmopolitanism

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pp. 189-210

As children of globalization who are accustomed to celebrating the virtues of deterritorialized flows, we sometimes forget why in the history of the Western world, a territorially bounded form, the polis, emerged as the norm for the political organization of collective life. In Hannah Arendt’s admittedly ...

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Chapter 11. Citizens of the Earth: Indigenous Cosmopolitanism and the Governance of the Prior

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pp. 211-226

What is it to be a citizen of the earth? What social imaginaries animate cosmopolitan citizenship— the desire to situate political belonging in a global context, from the perspective of the earth, a restricted cosmos to be sure, but one that could be expanded infinitely as new earths were found in far ...

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Chapter 12. The Idea of Global Citizenship

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pp. 227-243

The idea of global, or world, citizenship is a very old one, but it has recently come back into fashion. To avoid a possible source of confusion right away, it is not equivalent to the idea of global, or world, government. If some form of global government were to be created, then perhaps it would have global citizens ...

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Chapter 13. Why Does the State Matter Morally? Po liti cal Obligation and Particularity

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pp. 244-264

Most of us think the fact that we belong to a particular state matters morally: it makes a difference to what we ought to do.1 Consider four ways we take the state to matter: 1. Duties to obey the law: In most places in the United States, I ought not operate a motor vehicle with a blood- alcohol content above 0.08 percent. But ...

List of Contributors

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pp. 265-267


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pp. 269-317


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pp. 319-339

E-ISBN-13: 9780812207484
E-ISBN-10: 0812207483
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812244564
Print-ISBN-10: 0812244567

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 824081576
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship

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Subject Headings

  • Sovereignty -- History -- 20th century.
  • Sovereignty -- History -- 21st century.
  • Citizenship -- History -- 20th century.
  • Citizenship -- History -- 21st century.
  • Nation-state -- History -- 20th century.
  • Nation-state -- History -- 21st century.
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