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American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion

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In this look at what constitutes American citizenship, Judith Shklar identifies the right to vote and the right to work as the defining social rights and primary source of public respect. She demonstrates that in recent years, although all profess their devotion to the work ethic, earning remains unavailable to many who feel and are consequently treated as less than full c In this look at what constitutes American citizenship, Judith Shklar identifies the right to vote and the right to work as the defining social rights and primary source of public respect. She demonstrates that in recent years, although all profess their devotion to the work ethic, earning remains unavailable to many who feel and are consequently treated as less than full citizens.


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In this look at what constitutes American citizenship, Judith Shklar identifies the right to vote and the right to work as the defining social rights and primary source of public respect. She demonstrates that in recent years, although all profess their devotion to the work ethic, earning remains unavailable to many who feel and are consequently treated as less than full c In this look at what constitutes American citizenship, Judith Shklar identifies the right to vote and the right to work as the defining social rights and primary source of public respect. She demonstrates that in recent years, although all profess their devotion to the work ethic, earning remains unavailable to many who feel and are consequently treated as less than full citizens.

30 review for American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion

  1. 5 out of 5

    i.

    In this set of lectures, Shklar positions "voting" and "earning" as two modalities through which citizenship is attained, determined, and negotiated. Particularly, Shklar examines the development of gaining the right to vote and the development of political movements around labor and the "right to earn." Shklar looks at questions of citizenship by focusing on the ways that groups who have not been given full citizenship through unequal access to voting and earning -- women and black people, more In this set of lectures, Shklar positions "voting" and "earning" as two modalities through which citizenship is attained, determined, and negotiated. Particularly, Shklar examines the development of gaining the right to vote and the development of political movements around labor and the "right to earn." Shklar looks at questions of citizenship by focusing on the ways that groups who have not been given full citizenship through unequal access to voting and earning -- women and black people, more on that in a minute -- have negotiated questions of citizenship, as well as the way that white men -- those who have been included in citizenship -- have used the figure of the woman/the wife and the slave to make arguments about voting, labor, and the meaning of inclusion or exclusion in the polity. Through centering the institution of chattel slavery and its aftermath in examining the ways in which citizenship is negotiated, Shklar's lectures offer a critical examination of the ongoing argument about citizenship and policies in the United States. This centering of chattel slavery and the development of the Suffragist movement helps to provide an account of the ways that citizenship and notions of "good" citizenry has not always been equal, an account that, though far from perfect, offers a necessary counterargument to traditional citizenship literature in American political thought. However, Shklar's work is not without its problems. Though Shklar centers her analysis so that its center of gravity is chattel slavery (and, to a lesser extent, the development of the Suffrage movement), the "women and black people" framing that she utilizes to examine these movements obliterates black women from the development of notions of "citizenship." This becomes especially problematic in her last few pages, where she discusses welfare and workfare. Though there are moments wherein Shklar offers some distinctions between the women she's talking about and the category "women" as a whole, this is not enough, and very much impacts the depth of her argument. Further, though I agree with Shklar's focus on chattel slavery and its afterlife, and though she acknowledges the histories that she is leaving out all have merit, the lack of acknowledgement of the US's status as a settler-colonial nation makes for a gaping hole in these lectures. The concept of citizenship cannot be divorced from the institution of chattel slavery, but it also cannot be divorced from the institution of settler-colonialism. Maybe she addresses this in other works, but as these lectures stand today, they are not comprehensive, nor are they entirely unproblematic, by any means.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ulrich Baer

    A brilliant, impassioned and clearly argued book about the origins and current implications of citizenship in America -- the assumptions behind it; its political, moral and legal dimensions; and America's ongoing efforts to turn this concept into something truly inclusive. Citizenship is all too often understood to mean one thing, without recognizing that this term has undergone major modifications from the era of the Founding Fathers, and not only by including more Americans in that category. A A brilliant, impassioned and clearly argued book about the origins and current implications of citizenship in America -- the assumptions behind it; its political, moral and legal dimensions; and America's ongoing efforts to turn this concept into something truly inclusive. Citizenship is all too often understood to mean one thing, without recognizing that this term has undergone major modifications from the era of the Founding Fathers, and not only by including more Americans in that category. An essential read and short read for anyone interested in the daily workings of American life -- and who wants to talk about citizenship in informed ways. This is a profound book, but free of jargon, of academic posturing, and committed to understanding this key concept for American life in a historically informed way for our present realities. Here is a representative quote: "Citizenship has changed over the years, and political theorists who ignore the best current history and political science cannot expect to have anything very significant to contribute to our political self-understanding. They stand in acute danger of theorizing about nothing at all except their own uneasiness in a society they have made very little effort to comprehend. Neither Supreme Court opinions, which at times serve to structure our public debates, nor the writings of other philosophers, however distinguished, can act as a substitute for a genuinely historical and politically informed understanding of what citizenship has been and now is in America."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    "It is because slavery, racism, nativism, and sexism, often institutionalized in exclusionary and discriminatory laws and practices, have been and still are arrayed against the officially accepted claims of equal citizenship that there is a real pattern to be discerned in the torturous development of American ideas of citizenship." "It is because slavery, racism, nativism, and sexism, often institutionalized in exclusionary and discriminatory laws and practices, have been and still are arrayed against the officially accepted claims of equal citizenship that there is a real pattern to be discerned in the torturous development of American ideas of citizenship."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Avalos

  5. 5 out of 5

    Trent Ross

  6. 5 out of 5

    JoAnne Myers

  7. 5 out of 5

    Narcotique

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mark Berger

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    David Bates

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Walters

  11. 5 out of 5

    Akamdg

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Te

  13. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

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    Paul

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christiaan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Choi

  18. 5 out of 5

    Roberta Villalon

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    Matt

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pascal Werber

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  22. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  23. 4 out of 5

    Philip Freidhoff

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Platt

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alex The Ninja Squirrel

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cheyney

  27. 4 out of 5

    Liz

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

  30. 4 out of 5

    Muriel

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