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List of illustrations
1 What is citizenship, and why does it matter? 1
2 Theories of citizenship and their history 27
3 Membership and belonging 52
4 Rights and the 'right to have rights' 78
5 Participation and democracy 97
Further reading 124
Posted April 21, 2011
The problem of citizenship is as old as politics itself, since it deals with the most fundamental political question: who gets to participate in politics and to what extent. In fact, as this book shows, citizenship existed in many forms even before politics as we think of it did, and will likely outlive it. Richard Bellamy takes us through history of what citizenship meant in different cultures, and how different models of citizenship dominated under different political arrangements. He draws a distinction between ancient Greek participatory citizenship, in which all able-bodied citizens of the city-state were expected to participate in political affairs, and a more legal citizenship that was the predominant form in Roman state. In a more modern context, Bellamy does not advocate the dissemination and abandonment of nation-states, but recognizes their importance for the sake competitiveness between different political arrangements. He also stresses the importance of democracy for the development of proper civic sense on the part of citizens, and dismisses cynic who have been denouncing the merits of democracy, however imperfect it may be, for the sake of the healthy sense of citizenship.
Overall, this is a well-written account of the meaning of citizenship, past and present. It provides a new way of thinking about the subject and challenges several preconceived notions about what are the essential ingredients in making of a good citizen.