• 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.

The State
The state

Citizens have been traditionally seen as members of the state. It will be argued that a universal and emancipatory notion of citizenship is only possible if we detach citizenship from the state, and this requires us to set out the logical and empirical problems afflicting the state concept. The state, this chapter will contend, is a contradictory institution that seeks to secure the ‘common good’ through the ability to resort to violence. The state is a monopolistic ...

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