Citizenship as civic integration: A model of political membership for an era of migration

2001 2001

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Abstract (summary)

Most North Atlantic countries today have large and growing noncitizen populations. Citizens have rights and privileges that noncitizens do not possess. It is frequently noted that a state's membership policies determine “the very fabric of [that] nation.”1 Given the timeliness and practical and theoretical significance of political membership it is curious that feminist and mainstream citizenship theorists have made so few attempts to address it explicitly. Although much has been written about the content of liberal democratic citizenship—understood as the relationship between the state and current citizens—questions about who should be admitted to citizenship and under what conditions are rarely discussed. The relationship between the state and resident noncitizens is also under-theorized.

This dissertation attempts to remedy these deficiencies by providing a normative analysis of the dominant conceptual models of political membership, with the principal goal of determining which models are appropriate for contemporary liberal democracies.2 Part I articulates and critically evaluates two influential models of political membership—the Ethnic Nationalist Model and the Cultural Nationalist Model—and their associated conceptions of citizenship and political community. I raise three sets of objections to each model: (a) it would have practical implications for noncitizens and would-be citizens, particularly women and members of other vulnerable social groups, that cannot be reconciled with feminist, anti-racist, and liberal democratic principles; (b) it implies a problematic conception of citizenship; and (c) it promotes a dubious model of political community.

Part II of the dissertation focuses on non-nationalist models of political membership. I begin by explicating the Socioeconomic Incorporation Model, which is endorsed by many liberal philosophers as the best alternative to the ethnic and cultural nationalist models. I argue that although this model is consistent with feminist, anti-racist, and liberal democratic ideals, it promotes a passive and instrumental conception of citizenship. I then develop an alternative non-nationalist model of political membership, the Civic Integration Model, which identifies political participation as the primary prerequisite of naturalized citizenship. My alternative model is also consistent with feminist, anti-racist, and liberal democratic ideals, and promotes a voluntary, active, and inclusive conception of citizenship.

1Loy (1989: vii). 2A model of political membership includes three elements: (a) the provisions for the granting of citizenship at birth; (b) the provisions for the granting of naturalized citizenship; and (c) the provisions for noncitizen residency. The last determines the legal rights and duties of resident noncitizens.

Indexing (details)

Political science
0422: Philosophy
0615: Political science
Identifier / keyword
Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Citizenship; Civic integration; Immigration; Migration; Political membership
Citizenship as civic integration: A model of political membership for an era of migration
Wilcox, Michelle (Shelley) Lynn
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 62/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
9780493339955, 0493339957
Jaggar, Alison M.
University of Colorado at Boulder
University location
United States -- Colorado
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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