• 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, Democracy and Emancipation
Citizenship, democracy and emancipation

Citizenship and democracy, when detached from the state, are crucial to human emancipation.

The notion of emancipation is sometimes challenged by postmodernists who find it static and ‘foundational’ in character. It is true that emancipation was initially formulated in abstract terms as a concept during the Enlightenment. But it will be argued that the concept can and should be reconstructed to capture a dynamic sense of autonomy and self-government. This makes it incompatible with the state, but central to a coherent notion of democracy and citizenship.

A distinction will be made between static ...

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