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  • Cited by 10
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: July 2010

13 - Citizenship


Just who is throwing down the gauntlet here? Is political ecology a challenge for citizenship, or is citizenship a challenge for political ecology? Let's take the first possibility. Challenging citizenship could mean a number of things, but in the first instance it is a discursive challenge. Citizenship occupies a disputed yet established discursive space in modern politics and there are four broadly accepted reference points. First, citizenship provides an account of political relationships – sometimes between members of a political entity, and sometimes between those members and the political entity itself. Second, the stress on political relationships is important, because if citizenship is to continue to mean anything after its encounter with political ecology, we must be able to distinguish it from other types of relationship such as friendship or family. Third, the political entity most often associated with contemporary citizenship is the nation state, and – fourth – the relationships in question are usually talked about in terms of rights and responsibilities. So the ‘ecological challenge’ to citizenship could relate to any of these items of the architecture of citizenship: who or what are to be members, what counts as ‘political’, the nature of the space within which citizenship relations take place, and the kinds of rights and responsibilities that citizenship might entail.

The citizenship tent

Even without a specifically ecological challenge, there is plenty of wriggle room in the citizenship tent for debate to take place.

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