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Issues in Legal Scholarship

Editor-in-Chief: Farber, Daniel A

1 Issue per year

Rethinking Citizenship through Alienage and Birthright Privilege: Bosniak and Shachar's Critiques of Liberal Citizenship

Sarah Song1

1University of California, Berkeley,

Citation Information: Issues in Legal Scholarship. Volume 9, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1539-8323, DOI: 10.2202/1539-8323.1126, October 2011

Publication History

Published Online:
2011-10-24

The assumption that the boundaries of justice and democracy coincide with the territorial boundaries of states is subject to increasing normative critique. Linda Bosniak and Ayelet Shachar’s recent books are part of this charge; their common starting point is the tension between a commitment to bounded citizenship that privileges citizens over noncitizens and the moral cosmopolitan claim that all human beings, regardless of their citizenship status, are entitled to equal concern and respect. Bosniak’s focus is on the territorial interior and the difference that citizenship status does and doesn’t make to the legal rights a territorially present person is entitled do. Shachar critiques birthright citizenship laws, which are a central mechanism by which global inequality is sustained. This review essay argues that while these authors identify important new challenges and offer innovative proposals, they only take us part of the way toward meeting the challenge of articulating citizenship’s ethical significance and the relationship between our national and global obligations.

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