Across the world, from Britain to the USA and from the Balkans to Myanmar, the meaning of citizenship has moved to the centre of political debate. The Liverpool Salon invites you to a discussion of the various facets of citizenship and how they differently shape and reshape people’s lives. As a legal category, is citizenship too thin to provide a sense of belonging to a political community? As an expression of communal and political solidarities, does citizenship provide a strong enough defense of civil rights and protections?
Modern notions of citizenship have historically been situated inside the borders of nation states, often established through conflict. Once restricted to ‘men of property’, citizenship became a universal category through struggles for civil rights, equality and freedom. As nation states retreat from their responsibilities to run national economies and provide for citizens’ welfare, are the ‘citizens of somewhere’ losing out to more flexible notions of global citizenship?
From anger at the persecution of Windrush citizens to fraught debates about immigration controls, it appears that most of us believe that being a citizen goes beyond constitutional status, passports, paperwork and identity documents. With the weakening of national solidarities, is citizenship being replaced by individuated, consumerist and cultural identities? Or does it continue to be built through political solidarities and struggle? And what of those seeking to become citizens? How can we expect new citizens to integrate into political communities with such blurred boundaries?
Dr Cheryl Hudson is a lecturer in US political history at the University of Liverpool, and is former director of the academic programme at the Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the histories of race, reform and political culture in the US.
This event is organised by Liverpool Salon