25 September 2013: PCE Colloquium “Who should be a citizen? Differentiated membership in a democratic state” by Costica Dumbrava

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Date(s) - 25/09/13 - 25/10/13
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Grote Gracht 80-82, Spiegelzaal (Soiron Building) Maastricht


Who should be a citizen? Differentiated membership in a democratic state

by Costica Dumbrava (FASoS and MACIMIDE)

 Politics and Culture in Europe (PCE) in collaboration with MACIMIDE

ABSTRACT: Today the Earth’s surface is, apart from several exceptions, neatly divided among sovereign states and the people living on it are thoroughly assigned to particular states usually from the very moment of their birth. In other words, one has to be a citizen somewhere. But where? Why does one belong to a state rather than another? How does one become a citizen? As the example above shows, citizenship is sometimes given to people on dubious grounds such as ethnic origin. Is ethnicity a pre-condition of citizenship? Political theorists have rarely asked questions about membership. Until recently, they have generally assumed that national boundaries were natural and self-justified. In this presentation I firstly survey various principles of inclusion and exclusion available in the relatively novel literature about membership. I assess how principles such as nationalism, consent, freedom of association, all affected interests, and social membership address the question of membership. Secondly, I propose the principle of democratic recognition in order to take into account the structural condition of continuity of democratic community. Thirdly, I suggest distinguishing between different questions of membership in order to identify distinct normative concerns and legitimate interests. I argue that disentangling the unitary concept of citizenship into its three main components –legal, political, and identity – allows us to make better use of existing normative principles of membership, and to address better different individual or communal interests regarding membership(s).