From Subjects to Citizens: A Hundred Years of Citizenship in
Australia and Canada, Pierre Boyer, Linda Cardinal and David Headon,
eds., Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2004, pp. xvi, 328.
Citizenship is no longer viewed as a concept restricted to the
relationship between an individual and the state. It is now seen as
encompassing the series of overlapping identities that define an
individual's relationship to a political community. This means that
discussions of citizenship are now likely to involve an examination of
individual and group rights, political participation and an
individual's sense of belonging. The collection of conferences papers
under review pushes this expanded notion of citizenship to its limits, and
beyond. While the nominal topic is “a hundred years of citizenship
in Australia and Canada,” the contents of the book include chapters
on the Australian exploration of Antarctica, Nellie Melba as a famous
Australian, the secret ballot and the franchise in Australia, government
sponsorship of culture in Canada, and a fascinating (if depressing) study
of evidentiary law relating to rape in two early twentieth-century cases.
In addition to the startling range of topics, the styles of analysis and
disciplinary backgrounds of the contributions vary widely, from literary
to mainstream social science. A few chapters are more notable for their
polemical approach than their content.