Beyond Citizenship: American Identity After Globalization

Hardcover | February 15, 2008

byPeter J. Spiro

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American identity has always been capacious as a concept but narrow in its application. Citizenship has mostly been about being here, either through birth or residence. The territorial premises for citizenship have worked to resolve the peculiar challenges of American identity. Butglobalization is detaching identity from location. What used to define American was rooted in American space. Now one can be anywhere and be an American, politically or culturally. Against that backdrop, it becomes difficult to draw the boundaries of human community in a meaningful way. Longstandingnotions of democratic citizenship are becoming obsolete, even as we cling to them. Beyond Citizenship charts the trajectory of American citizenship and shows how American identity is unsustainable in the face of globalization. Peter J. Spiro describes how citizenship law once reflected and shaped the American national character. Spiro explores the histories of birthright citizenship, naturalization, dual citizenship, and how those legal regimes helped reinforce an otherwise fragile national identity. But on a shiftingglobal landscape, citizenship status has become increasingly divorced from any sense of actual community on the ground. As the bonds of citizenship dissipate, membership in the nation-state becomes less meaningful. The rights and obligations distinctive to citizenship are now trivial. Naturalizationrequirements have been relaxed, dual citizenship embraced, and territorial birthright citizenship entrenched--developments that are all irreversible. Loyalties, meanwhile, are moving to transnational communities defined in many different ways: by race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, and sexualorientation. These communities, Spiro boldly argues, are replacing bonds that once connected people to the nation-state, with profound implications for the future of governance. Learned, incisive, and sweeping in scope, Beyond Citizenship offers a provocative look at how globalization is changing the very definition of who we are and where we belong.

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American identity has always been capacious as a concept but narrow in its application. Citizenship has mostly been about being here, either through birth or residence. The territorial premises for citizenship have worked to resolve the peculiar challenges of American identity. Butglobalization is detaching identity from location. What...

Peter J. Spiro is Charles Weiner Professor of Law at Temple University. A former State Department lawyer, National Security Council staff member, and U.S. Supreme Court law clerk, he has written on international, immigration, and constitutional law for many of the nation's top law reviews as well as such publications as Foreign Affair...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 6.3 × 9.41 × 0.91 inPublished:February 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195152182

ISBN - 13:9780195152180

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"In Beyond Citizenship, one of our best and most provocative scholars demonstrates with skill, erudition, and an engaging style accessible to all how globalization's tectonic forces are eroding the coherence of American citizenship, the supposed bedrock of our national identity. With thismuch-needed book, our debate on this vital subject will never be the same."--Peter H. Schuck, author of Citizenship Without Consent and Citizens, Strangers, and In-Betweens and Simeon E. Baldwin Professor, Yale Law School