Citizenship as a concept has received more attention in the American Sociology rather than in the British sociology. The discourse of citizenship is associated with the notion of belongingness and therefore, it is discriminatory in nature. This paper sets out to discuss about the complicated discussion about citizenship, identity and nationality and argue that the discourse of citizenship is more exclusionary and categorizes citizens based on their privilege and marginalization.
According to the understanding of Mannheim’s classical sociology of knowledge and Latour’s argument citizenship refers to the recursive effect of the disputes belonging to the membership in which the disputes entail the three forms of political rationality or thought styles. These three styles are linearly individual rationality of liberalism, culturally collective conservatism and dialectically collective socialism. This conceptualization of citizenship has been challenged by Marshall that is concerned with defining citizenship as the status that is bestowed on those who are members of the community. The notion of citizenship is concerned with the idea that it fosters freedom and equality in which the duties and rights of are sanctioned by the discourse of the nation state. This process restricts the excesses of the capitalist economy and it is progressed towards modern democracy. According to Marshall, citizenship comprises of three elements like social, political and civil. It posits an image of the evolutionary progress from the civil citizenship to political citizenship to social citizenship. Marshall considers civil rights of citizens to be flawed by the class prejudices, as there is inequitable distribution of income and wealth. For Marshall, the rule of law has turned out be the solid foundation for the future reforms and the base of citizenship. The rule of law emphasizes on the rights individuals over the everyday customs and the statutes that are deemed as menace to the prosperity of the country.
Citizenship is often formally institutionalized as a privilege and is not a right. Despite the projected universal entitlement it is subjected to the multiple limitations and the qualifications that are lead to classed, gendered, sexualized and racial exclusions. According to the discourse of the western states, they have made an attempt to link citizenship with rights for conducting and the behaviour emphasizing the provisional nature and for invoking the deprivation of citizenship that is of the ultimate nature.
There are several restrictions imposed on the practise of citizenship that is informed by the international conventions that inhibit the enactment of the staleness. In UK, there is a raft of the measures that are passed in tandem and facilitates a process of deprivation by proxy like the temporary exclusion orders. There is a racialized dimension of citizenship like exclusion that are embedded and conceived in the racialized governmentality. It has been found that the as part of the expansion of the state securitization in the light of the War on Terror there are a whole range of measures that have been passed to inhibit the and pose restrictions on the everyday citizenship issues. The policies related to counter terrorism has led to the racialized dimensions of the state in the inclusion and exclusion of citizens. There needs to be deeper and more refined engagement on the discourse of citizenship beyond the rigmarole of political rhetoric. The growing incidents of the rhetoric of state security and the corollary of passport examination and frisking of people is to the identity, nationality and concerns the larger discourse of citizenship. In the light of War on Terror, the developed countries or the First-world nations embarked on measures to counter terrorism and protect the rightful citizens of the nations especially through the Prevent Agenda and it underscores on the racialized dimension. The removal of passports relate to the citizenship and the exposes the circumstances for the racially marginalized people and there is hardly any information revealed about the process, details and the conditions through individual passports are removed in the guise of robust counter-terrorism moves by the government. Literature on policing, administrative and the judicial operations and the infrastructure in which the removal of the passports are enacted. It has been argued by scholars that the act of the removal of passports through the state enforced authorities is anchored in the politics of colonial governmentalities. The measure is enforced through extreme violence and demonstrates the condescending attitude of the state. Studies have shown that enhancements on the border control and surveillance consists of the shifts in the management of the citizenship. In this way, the state perpetrates legal and social exclusion whilst the formal retraction of citizenship is tied to the issues of national security and identity. It is associated with the institutional apparatus that develops on the marginalization, exclusion and expulsion of the racialized other. There have been the implementation of exclusionary measures like Temporary Exclusion Orders that in practise are politically and legally uncertain. Similarly, Royal Prerogative powers have been exploited to remove the passports that have historical precedent that occurred in 1955. The requirement for granting passport is checking the identity and the nationality of the person the applicant. If the nationality of the applicant is deemed to be suspicious by the Home Secretary then application for passport is rejected by the Passport Office and the Home Secretary. The removal or the rejection of passport by the Home Ministry underscore on the power of the state to determine the legitimacy of citizenship. The confiscation of passports although in the legal parlance does not relate to deprivation of citizenship, however it connotes material and symbol meanings. In countries like Britain passport is mandatory for applying for employment, for accommodation, accessing the health and other welfare services, and opening the bank account. It has been found that character is associated with the privilege of citizenship and the perceived willingness to function in accordance with the state. The issue of citizenship deprivation needs to be contextualized in the modern European colonial project and embedded in the racialized codes that are ingrained within the everyday practises of citizenship. During the earlier phase, the struggle for the belonging has altered the meaning of citizenship. The disciplinary practises during the deportation turn along with the rise of the detention in the asylum seekers have not always linked to the broader governmentalities of the citizenship and the internal exclusions
Within the political scenario, there has been suspicion regarding the liberal citizenship an understanding that has emerged from Marx and that highlights that democratic rights of the citizens are partial and narrow. Democratic rights exercised by the citizens have not been helpful in alleviating the economic inequality that is pervasive in the society. The notion of democratic citizenship is understood as a bourgeois concept that invisibilizes the economic and the class division and the economic inequality that exists in the society. Feminist scholars have criticized the notion of ideal citizenship by contesting that it is an essentialist and masculinist understanding. In the masculinist understanding there is the public-private split. In this context, public connotes the liberal thought that relates to the domain of politics, generality and the rights. Women are expected to be part of the private sphere according to the patriarchal understanding of the division of labour. As a result of which women are constructed as antithetical to the idea of womanhood. The notion of liberal citizenship has been criticized as racialized and thus exclusive. In the mainstream discourse of citizenship, the idea of citizenship is tied to the white colonial views of independence and self-control that is considered indispensable for the functioning of the republic government. This conception proceeded with the conquest and colonization of the non-western countries of the Anglo Americans and the Europeans. The elimination of the Native Americans, appropriation of the Mexicans in the Southwestern regions and seizing of Puerto Rico and Philippines were rationalized by arguing that the non-white people are dependent and lacks the capability of self-governance. Despite the blatant espousal of the masculinist, bourgeois and the racial undercurrent of the liberal citizenship inherent in the American construction of liberal citizenship, this model of citizenship is posited as the ideal citizenship. Movements on social justice have found that the rhetoric of egalitarian and universalistic has been effective in creating conviction among the people. This same language was adopted for advocating the freedom of the Blacks from the abolition of slavery and the suffrage of women and the workers from the Union. Therefore, the emancipatory potential that is projected through the universal notion of citizenship is actually a farce. The concept of citizenship has been historically and culturally specific. The contemporary notion of the western citizenship have emanated from the intellectual and the political revolutions that took place in the during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with the aim of overthrowing the feudal order. Although there was a climate that advocated for the equality of citizenship, however it did not invisibilize the inequality in the realm of economics and politics. Equality of the citizens are premised on the inequality of others who are inhabiting within the contours of the community who have been constructed and labelled as non-citizens. There is a relationship between the equality of the citizens and inequality of the non-citizens that bear both rhetorical and material connotations. At the most general level, citizenship connotes the full membership in the community and a specific sociological definition of citizenship has been offered by Turner as a competent member of the society. Membership as a discourse has both distinctions and boundaries. The notion of inclusion implies certain rights and the reciprocal obligations that one has towards the community.
In case of Nepal it has been found that states have designed, embraced and implemented the policies on the family and the citizenship that are purported for the production of families along the contours of desired nationalist images through the regulation of the kin-making behaviour of the citizens and the sexual and the reproductive capacities of women. In the context of Nepal, it has been found that there is a propensity by the state to restrict the abilities of women to transfer their citizenship rights to the children that is reflective of the deep-rooted assumptions the expectations regarding the structures of family and the sexual and reproductive abilities of women. This is anchored in the understanding that a woman follows the patrilineal and the patrilocal life cycle and they are part of the household of their husband. Men are considered to be the permanent and the rightful members of the household whereas women are not considered the same as they are viewed as shifting between the lineages through the system of marriage. This idealized practise is hegemonic and has informed the discourse and practise of citizenship in Nepal. The country has witnessed the marginalization of women through the practise of citizenship in the country. Women are deemed as vectors of Nepaliness and are subsumed within the nationalist priorities of the State. Drawing from the illustration of Nepal it can stated that citizenship and nationalism has gendered connotations and posits questions regarding the inclusivity and the political stability of the country.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that citizenship is not solely based on the legal status but it is related to the social and the economic resources. Citizenship identity is tied to the issues of belonging and solidarity and is connected with the ordeal of the inequitable distribution of the resources in the society. Despite the liberal conceptualization of citizenship as universal and egalitarian, the implications of citizenship are largely exclusive. In fact, citizenship cannot exist without functioning on the inequalities through categorization of the rightful citizens and people who do not qualify as citizens. The illustration of passport demonstrated that how it is a state controlled apparatus to determine, discriminate and marginalize the certain people against another. Citizenship has also gendered connotations as it embodies masculine principles and therefore, women naturally become pathological citizens.
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