The Boundaries and Bonds of Citizenship: Recognition and Redistribution in the U.S., Germany, and Israel

MIGRATION IN HISTORY, Marc Rodriguez and Anthony Grafton, eds., Princeton University, Davis Center Studies in History, Princeton/Rochester, 2006

71 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2006

See all articles by David Abraham

David Abraham

University of Miami - School of Law

Abstract

This essay analyzes changes in the U.S., Germany, and Israel over the past three decades in the content of, access to, and significance of citizenship. It also attempts a normative argument for a conception of citizenship that is plausible and just, historically and culturally embedded, and redistribution-centered. The essay examines the import of the shift from sovereignty to governance and related neo-liberal developments on the solidarities, good and bad, created in and by three very different nation-states: the U.S., Germany, and Israel.

Overall, there has been a decline in the content of citizenship and an easing of access to it. Both the horizontal and the vertical dimensions of citizenship have been weakened. In all three countries, it has become easier to become a member of the community: the horizontal, inside/outside border of citizenship has become easier to cross. More or less at the same time, the vertical bonds of social solidarity have become weaker as the programs of social democracy and social citizenship have been attenuated.

In part, these developments are a response to a nearly unprecedentedly high level of migration throughout the world. In part, they have come to pass because rights struggles domestically have focused on individual equal protection rights - anti-discrimination - and multiculturalism. In part, however, these developments point to the neo-liberal reduction in solidarity within these societies and the decline in the power of citizenship as a political and socioeconomic category. The decline of the Keynesian welfare state and the Soviet Union and the rise of international human rights discourses have also played their parts. The result has been a gain in recognition and non-discrimination but at the expense of redistribution. In many ways, there is greater receptivity toward migrants in all three of these societies, but less and less readiness to extend the bonds of full-fledged membership, above all redistribution. Instead of solidarity, live and let live is the cultural and legal leitmotif of the day.

Along with documenting the forces to which all three societies have been subjected, the essay assesses whether the resulting changes contribute to a greater measure of social justice and individual freedom. The answer remains a highly contingent and uncertain matter.

Keywords: Germany, Israel, U.S., citizenship, solidarity, neo-liberalism, bonds, boundaries, rights, individualism, immigration, welfare state, social democracy

JEL Classification: K1, K10, K11, K3, K30, K31

Suggested Citation

Abraham, David, The Boundaries and Bonds of Citizenship: Recognition and Redistribution in the U.S., Germany, and Israel. MIGRATION IN HISTORY, Marc Rodriguez and Anthony Grafton, eds., Princeton University, Davis Center Studies in History, Princeton/Rochester, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=886946

David Abraham (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

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Coral Gables, FL 33146
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