• 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 historically been linked to participation. Yet a decline in conventional political participation seems to be a powerful trend in developed liberal democracies. We will note how, in the post war period, an elitist or non-participatory view of democracy has been presented in the name of realism – a celebration of what has become a major problem in the contemporary liberal world. The market model is highly imperfect: the notion that people can only elect their rulers expresses a very limited view of peoples' political capacities.

But how to make a realistic case for more participation? Many radicals run the risk of simply inverting the ‘realist’ argument, but ...

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