Citizenship, Inequality, and Difference: Historical Perspectives

Princeton University Press
Free sample

A succinct and comprehensive history of the development of citizenship from the Roman Empire to the present day

Citizenship, Inequality, and Difference offers a concise and sweeping overview of citizenship's complex evolution, from ancient Rome to the present. Political leaders and thinkers still debate, as they did in Republican Rome, whether the presumed equivalence of citizens is compatible with cultural diversity and economic inequality. Frederick Cooper presents citizenship as "claim-making"--the assertion of rights in a political entity. What those rights should be and to whom they should apply have long been subjects for discussion and political mobilization, while the kind of political entity in which claims and counterclaims have been made has varied over time and space.

Citizenship ideas were first shaped in the context of empires. The relationship of citizenship to "nation" and "empire" was hotly debated after the revolutions in France and the Americas, and claims to "imperial citizenship" continued to be made in the mid-twentieth century. Cooper examines struggles over citizenship in the Spanish, French, British, Ottoman, Russian, Soviet, and American empires, and he explains the reconfiguration of citizenship questions after the collapse of empires in Africa and India. He explores the tension today between individualistic and social conceptions of citizenship, as well as between citizenship as an exclusionary notion and flexible and multinational conceptions of citizenship.

Citizenship, Inequality, and Difference is a historically based reflection on some of the most fundamental issues facing human societies in the past and present.

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About the author

Frederick Cooper is professor of history at New York University. His many books include Empires in World History and Citizenship between Empire and Nation (both Princeton).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
May 15, 2018
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9781400890422
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Civilization
History / Modern / General
History / World
Political Science / Civics & Citizenship
Political Science / Civil Rights
Political Science / Colonialism & Post-Colonialism
Political Science / Political Ideologies / Nationalism & Patriotism
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A groundbreaking history of the last days of the French empire in Africa

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Frederick Cooper explains how African political leaders at the end of World War II strove to abolish the entrenched distinction between colonial "subject" and "citizen." They then used their new status to claim social, economic, and political equality with other French citizens, in the face of resistance from defenders of a colonial order. Africans balanced their quest for equality with a desire to express an African political personality. They hoped to combine a degree of autonomy with participation in a larger, Franco-African ensemble. French leaders, trying to hold on to a large French polity, debated how much autonomy and how much equality they could concede. Both sides looked to versions of federalism as alternatives to empire and the nation-state. The French government had to confront the high costs of an empire of citizens, while Africans could not agree with French leaders or among themselves on how to balance their contradictory imperatives. Cooper shows how both France and its former colonies backed into more "national" conceptions of the state than either had sought.

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