Can there be a global historiography of citizenship?

Authored by: Kathryn L. Wegner

Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies

Print publication date:  June  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415519724
eBook ISBN: 9780203102015
Adobe ISBN: 9781136237966


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In the 1990s, many scholars raised questions about the meaning and relevance of citizenship in the context of unprecedented economic globalization, transnational governance, and new forms of communication. Scholars in the historical profession wondered about the historical construction and evolution of citizenship. The history of citizenship was first explored in national narratives, but by the early 2000s transnational and global histories of citizenship appeared in the historiography. This essay theorizes that by considering historical narratives in international context and comparison, a global historiography of citizenship enhances our understanding of citizenships and denaturalizes citizenship as Western. Thus, this survey of scholarship in the history of citizenship written in English, since the 1990s, offers both the historian and the citizenship scholar a place to start when trying to understand common definitions, themes, and approaches historians use to understand citizenship. 1 Because of the lengthy and more developed historiography of citizenship of France, Britain, and the United States, this essay disproportionately focuses on these nation-states, but it will be followed by a discussion of the relatively younger transnational and global histories and histories of citizenship in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.

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