• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Is 'citizenship' still a useful concept? Can citizens - and democracy - exist independently of the state? This text provides an accessible guide to the theories and debates that surround the key political concepts of state, citizenship, and democracy today. John Hoffman reviews the modern development of these concepts from the classic texts of Marx and Weber to the post-war critiques of the feminist, multicultural and critical theorists and considers the on-going barriers to a full realisation of a democratic citizenship. By carefully considering what the state is and what it does, Hoffman shows that it is possible to respond to these critiques and challenges and 'reclaim' citizenship and democracy as inclusive and emancipatory, rather than divisive and controlling. In advancing this alternative view of a 'stateless' citizenship, Hoffman opens up new possibilities for conceiving power and society in contemporary politics today. It will be essential reading for all students of politics and sociology for whom the questions of state, nationality, power and identity remain of central importance.


Citizenship has become a fashionable concept and the literature on this subject is now enormous. It has always been central to liberal discourse but what is distinctive about the last ten years or so is the extent to which the concept of citizenship has been taken up by feminists, multi-culturalists, new social movement theorists and those generally critical of the liberal tradition.

During the 1960s and 1970s radicals on the left found the term too ‘bourgeois’ and, of course, the notion initially signalled one who had a propertied stake in the community. Citizenship was identified with legal and political rights and appeared to ignore the way in which those with ...

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