The Study of Citizenship at a Moment of Transnationalization of the State: A Conversation between Cultural Studies and Political Philosophy
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In this conceptual history of academic engagement with citizenship over the past quarter of a century I follow the concept as it is invoked to explain the precarious memberships of women, ethnic minorities, and queer individuals. Through an exploration of several instructive case studies, ranging from that of illicit border crossing to that of sex work, this thesis demonstrates how the discourse of citizenship has been both strengthened and weakened by its turn to the 'excluded'. Several debates have accompanied the theorizing of citizenship across disciplines, particularly regarding the nature of social difference and the workings of identity. In the first three sections of this thesis I revisit these debates as they played out within the disciplinary contexts of feminist and queer theory, Latino cultural studies, and political philosophy in order to examine the analytical paths to citizenship that were opened and closed in their wake. In the final section of the thesis I critique postmodernist models of hybrid and nomadic citizenship for abstracting too generously from their material referents. I offer the concept of sexual citizenship as an analytically sounder alternative that combines national and transnational, historical and phenomenological analysis. I conclude by arguing for the admission of embodied performances into the public sphere model as a style and mode of deliberation alternative to the traditionally envisioned but not opposed to reason or the ideal of a collective good.