Citizenship: Towards a Feminist Synthesis

TitleCitizenship: Towards a Feminist Synthesis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsLister, Ruth
JournalFeminist Review
Pagination28 - 48
Date Published09/1997

This article provides a synthesis of different forms of citizenship rights and proposes a participatory approaches to citizenship, linked through the notion of human agency, as the basis for a feminist theory of citizenship. Such a theory has to address citizenship's exclusionary power (which have served to exclude women and minority groups from full citizenship, both from within and from without the nation state) in relation to both nation-state 'outsiders' and 'insiders'. With regard to the former, the article argues that a feminist theory and politics of citizenship must embrace an internationalist agenda. With regard to the latter, it offers the concept of a 'differentiated universalism' (with regard to both participation and rights-based conceptions of citizenship) as an attempt to reconcile the universalism which lies at the heart of citizenship with the demands of a politics of difference. Embracing also the reconstruction of the public-private dichotomy, citizenship, reconceptualized in this way, can, it is argued, provide us with an important theoretical and political tool.

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