Introduction to Political Theory

(Marvins-Underground-K-12) #1
However, we cannot accept Pateman’s argument that citizenship itself is a
patriarchal category, although it is perfectly true that citizenship traditionally has
been constructed in a masculinist image (Mouffe, 1992: 374). Men are different
from women, and some women are different from others. Respecting difference is
an important part of extending citizenship, so that Mouffe puts the matter in a
misleading way when she argues that sexual difference is not a ‘pertinent distinction’
to a theory of citizenship (1992: 377). Biological differences remain ‘relevant’ to
citizenship even if these biological differences should not be used as a justification
for discrimination. Differences between men and women no more exclude the latter
from citizenship than differences between men can justify exclusion. But it does not
follow that these differences cease to be ‘pertinent’. We should not, in other words,
throw the baby out with the bathwater. One-sided points need to be incorporated

  • not simply cast aside. Differences between men and women remain relevant but
    they do not justify restricting citizenship – with all this implies – to either gender.

Global citizenship

Is citizenship limited to the membership of a particular nation? Writers like Aron
(cited by Heater, 1999: 150) have declared that ‘there are no such animals as
“European citizens”. There are only French, German or Italian citizens’. In this
view, citizenship involves the membership of a national or domestic state.
Cosmopolitans argue, however, that the assertion of rights and responsibilities
at the global level in no way contradicts loyalties at a regional, national and local
level. People, in whatever area of government they are involved, must be respected
and empowered, whether they are neighbours in the same block, people of their
own nation and region or members of the other countries in distant parts of the
world. One of the most positive features of globalisation is that people meet
others of different ethnic and cultural origin and outlook, not only when they travel
abroad, but even at the local level. The media (at its best) presents people suffering
and developing in other parts of the world as though they were neighbours, so
that it becomes increasingly possible to imagine what it is like to be the other.
Modern conditions have contributed much to realise Kant’s argument that ‘a
violation of rights in one part of the world is felt everywhere’ (cited by Heater,
1999: 140).
Lister links the notion of ‘global citizenship’ with a ‘multi-layered conception’
of citizenship itself (1997: 196), with states acknowledging the importance of human
rights and international law. Each layer, if it is democratically constructed,
strengthens the other. Global citizenship – a respect for others, a concern for their
well-being and a belief that the security of each person depends upon the security
of everyone else – does not operate in contradiction with regional, national and
local identities. People can see themselves as Glaswegian, Scottish, British and
European. Why do they have to make a choice? As Lister puts it, either/or choices
lead us into a theoretical and political cul-de-sac (1997: 197). Heater argues that
the ‘singular concept’ of citizenship has burst its bounds (1999: 117) and it is true
that dual citizenship (which already exists in some states) represents a much more
relaxed view of the question so that a person can exercise state-centred citizenship

Chapter 6 Citizenship 129
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