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Hooker Distinguished Visiting Professor John Clarke: Contesting citizenship

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Hamilton Hall 302, McMaster University

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Contesting Citizenship: people, places, politics

Citizenship is ‘an essentially contested concept’ (Ruth Lister) – a status that is reflected in the many political projects that have laid claim to the idea. In the present, citizenship is once more contested by very different efforts to remake relationships between people, places and politics. There are programmes to ‘reform’ citizenship by narrowing both eligibility to be a citizen in an era of nationalism and nativism, and the rights and resources that flow from being a citizen (in a time of ‘shrinking states’). There are counter projects that seek to expand access to citizenship and the legal, social and political benefits that attach to being a citizen. There are still more projects that seek to mobilise people as citizens (from local activisms to governmental sponsorship of ‘active citizens’). Citizenship as an identity and status (the ‘membership of a political community’) is contested by those lacking such a legitimate place (the stateless) and is stretched by those occupying more than one place (multiple sovereignties). In this presentation, I will explore why citizenship remains so contested and ask why it matters.

Professor Clarke is giving this lecture to undergraduate students in a class on Social Work with Communities. Alumni of the School of Social Work and community partners are welcome to sit in on the class. There is no cost to attend and a community parking rate is available. If you'd like to receive the readings, please email: sw50@mcmaster.ca

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Hamilton Hall 302, McMaster University

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