The Citizenship Puzzle - Review of Christian Joppke, Citizenship and Immigration (Polity Press, 2010), and Ayelet Shachar, The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2009)
10 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2011
Date Written: March 12, 2011
The institution of citizenship has undergone far-reaching factual and normative changes. In two recent studies, Christian Joppke and Ayelet Shachar address complex and pressing problems underlying modern citizenship theory. Joppke and Shachar begin from different premises regarding immigration and citizenship. Joppke takes for granted the existing regime of birthright citizenship; his main focus is the relationship between immigration and citizenship, and the interrelation between the dimensions of citizenship. Shachar finds the option of becoming a citizen deficient, and underscores the need to rethink the whole concept of birthright citizenship and the role it plays in perpetuating global injustice. Joppke is more optimistic: he celebrates the triumph of liberalism. Shachar is pessimistic about the citizenship discourse — which, even if more liberal than in the past, is still flawed — yet optimistic about the potential of her ideas to bring about a better future. This review briefly examines each book and discusses the contribution of each to the contemporary, evolving debates on citizenship.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation