Presentation Title

Democracy of Exclusion: A Critique of Ineffective Citizenship

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Location

Watkins 2240

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Abstract

Citizenship denotes the acknowledgement of a person as a legally recognized member of society with all of the rights and privileges that come with it. In the United States of America, citizenship has been extended to groups of people who were previously excluded when the country was first founded. The rhetoric of equality and freedom that this nation was supposedly founded on has since come closer to becoming a reality as generations of Americans have fought to be included within that normative vision, and in the process have further democratized the United States. Still, theoretical concepts of citizenship have remained stagnant in the policies of most western industrialized nations. Disparities in the institutional treatment of non-white minorities, unequal access to gatekeeping institutions related to race or socioeconomic status, and disenfranchisement based on legal resident status have ensured that not all members of a society have citizenship that is as equally effective. Democracy is therefore weakened when these unequal power relationships take hold of a nation’s political system and fail to ensure that all who are “equal under the law” have an equally effective voice in determining their self-agency. This project looks at how the theoretical development of citizenship has remained exclusionary in nature to build a critique of how ineffective citizenship has failed to secure the agency of all members within a society and analyze issues of inequality against that background using a critical framework that places the emancipatory project of liberation as its central focus.

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Nov 12th, 11:30 AM Nov 12th, 11:45 AM

Democracy of Exclusion: A Critique of Ineffective Citizenship

Watkins 2240

Citizenship denotes the acknowledgement of a person as a legally recognized member of society with all of the rights and privileges that come with it. In the United States of America, citizenship has been extended to groups of people who were previously excluded when the country was first founded. The rhetoric of equality and freedom that this nation was supposedly founded on has since come closer to becoming a reality as generations of Americans have fought to be included within that normative vision, and in the process have further democratized the United States. Still, theoretical concepts of citizenship have remained stagnant in the policies of most western industrialized nations. Disparities in the institutional treatment of non-white minorities, unequal access to gatekeeping institutions related to race or socioeconomic status, and disenfranchisement based on legal resident status have ensured that not all members of a society have citizenship that is as equally effective. Democracy is therefore weakened when these unequal power relationships take hold of a nation’s political system and fail to ensure that all who are “equal under the law” have an equally effective voice in determining their self-agency. This project looks at how the theoretical development of citizenship has remained exclusionary in nature to build a critique of how ineffective citizenship has failed to secure the agency of all members within a society and analyze issues of inequality against that background using a critical framework that places the emancipatory project of liberation as its central focus.