• 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.


Just as the term citizenship has been viewed with suspicion by sections of the left, so has the concept of democracy. The extraordinarily subversive character of the concept has not been grasped. Yet once democracy is linked to the state, it becomes evident why it is a concept with far-reaching and ill-thought out implications. Democracy, it will be argued, is post-liberal in character. A democratic concept of citizenship involves attention to the subversive notion of democracy itself.

The argument that democracy involves a tyranny of the majority, that it suppresses minorities and is capable of authoritarian ...

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