Citizenship in a Federal System
Peter H. Schuck
Yale University - Law School
American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 48, June 2000
This paper explores the ways in which citizenships are defined and regulated in federations. After introducing the subject by describing the debate over the meaning of national and sub-national sovereignties in an age of globalism, the paper discusses the internal, centripetal forces that may impel nation-states to federalize power, devolving it downward to sub-national units and thereby altering the nature and significance of citizenship. It next develops the political, constitutional, sociological, and psychological meanings of citizenship and the policy instruments through which different polities may instantiate these meanings, including federalism. The paper then analyzes how federalism affects citizenship by focusing on four aspects of a federation that shape citizenship's meaning in that polity: (1) the polity's historical and political origins; (2) its social diversity; (3) its distribution of powers between the national and sub-national levels, and among the latter; and (4) the rights and duties it accords to citizens of each level. This analysis draws on the federal systems in Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, the U.S., and, to a lesser extent, Belgium. The paper concludes by reporting on the recent, unexpected renaissance of America's dual sovereignty form of federalism.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 25, 2000
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