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This book offers a conception of citizenship that is independent of any specific form of political organisation, while being compatible with multiple levels of political institutionalisation. Its de-contextualised account of citizenship differs from both cosmopolitan and nation-statist accounts. Using that conception, the book addresses topical and normative debates in one particular transnational political association: the European Union. Bringing political theory together with debates in international relations and in citizenship studies, the author argues that citizenship should be understood as an institutional role through which persons might exercise their political agency: their capacities to shape the contexts of their lives and promote the freedom and well-being of themselves and, importantly, fulfil their duties to others within and outside of the polity. The work draws on the rights-based philosophy of Alan Gewirth.

Politics and popular culture

The relationship between politics and popular culture is often seen to take one of two forms. Either popular culture is seen to disengage or passify citizens; or it is portrayed as a source of political knowledge and expression. Such claims are rarely subjected to detailed scrutiny. From Entertainment to Citizenship is an attempt to make up this deficit by examining carefully how popular culture’s politics is understood and used. Focusing on the lives and experiences of 17-18 year olds in the UK, it explores the extent to which these young people use popular culture to think about and engage with politics. The book compares the political role of different forms of popular culture (video games, music and entertainment television), and it considers different dimensions of the relationship. It looks at the phenomenon of the ‘celebrity politician’, at popular culture as a source of knowledge about the ‘real world’ and at the group identities forged around the pleasures of music, TV and video games. We conclude that popular culture is an important source of knowledge about the world, that it helps forge identities and the interests associated with them, and it gives form to the evaluations of power and its exercise. Rarely, though, does this interplay of politics and popular culture happen in neat or straightforward ways.

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Membership, privilege, and place

1 Citizenship I: membership, privilege, and place Introduction Citizenship is an object of enquiry in many disciplines, though perhaps especially prominent in political theory and political science, law, and sociology. Until the early 1990s it appeared to be moribund as a field of study, but a resurgence of interest since then has spawned a now huge literature.1 As every book on citizenship sooner or later says, there are many conceptions and theories of citizenship, all contested to some degree, and some of which are more controversial than others. Across the

in Supranational Citizenship
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Status, identity, and role

2 Citizenship II: status, identity, and role Cosmopolitanism and after Because the standard ‘nation-state’ accounts of citizenship are increasingly being found wanting, interest in the idea of global citizenship has, since the early 1990s, resurged. As Nussbaum reminds us, the essence of this idea is not new but revisits the ancient Stoic doctrine of cosmopolitanism – ‘cosmopolite’ meaning, precisely, a citizen of the world. In advocating cosmopolitanism as the remedy for narrowness of vision Nussbaum describes such a citizen as a person dwelling both in the

in Supranational Citizenship

3 Citizenship of the European Union The legal position and its development Since the 1970s, the view that popular legitimacy would be a precondition for development of the EU as a unitary and purposive actor in international affairs has prevailed among EU political elites. The influential 1975 Report by Leo Tindemans, a former Belgian Prime Minister, in its call for a more distinctive EU ‘identity’ on the international stage, hinted at later ideas of both Union citizenship1 and attempts to create a European anthropos contained in the recommendations of the

in Supranational Citizenship

3 Citizenship and popular culture Where the previous chapter explored the traditions of thought that connected politics with popular culture, this one looks in detail at the latter’s relationship with the specifics of citizenship. For many writers it is not a happy relationship. As we have seen, Adorno and Horkheimer, and more recently Robert Putnam, are just a few examples of those who have cast a critical and (more often than not) pessimistic eye on popular culture’s potential to invigorate the public sphere. Together, these writers alert us to the harm that

in From entertainment to citizenship

9 Playing with citizenship So far we have represented our participants as a thoughtful bunch. When they reflected on the political efficacy of celebrities or the wider social significance of a storyline in, for example, a soap opera, they showed their ability to reflect critically on political issues, often doing so in a serious manner. In such moments, these young people came very close to the ‘ideal type citizen’ that we discussed in Chapter 3. They were calm and rational when formulating an opinion about political issues. Moreover, as they demonstrated in

in From entertainment to citizenship
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Introduction Supraabove, beyond, in addition (to) (Oxford English Dictionary) Within recent memory the prospect of EU citizenship would have struck most observers as wildly speculative, and the idea of it unintelligible. The very concept of modern citizenship was so inextricably linked with that of the nation-state as to appear meaningless when decoupled from it. That nation states were the only possible repositories of citizens’ political attention, activity, and allegiance seemed self-evident. Ideas of global or supranational citizenship were, consequently

in Supranational Citizenship
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constitution of society on the other, are the end points of a relationship lying implied and mostly undeveloped in Gewirth’s own work. More remains to be elucidated about the theoretical relationships between those institutions and the underlying fundamental values from which they are claimed to flow. The intermediating institutions and relationships linking micro and macro, and morals and politics, need to be deduced and fleshed out. This chapter aims to show how and where citizenship fits into an account of the relationship between morality and politics. The argument will

in Supranational Citizenship
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Conclusion Is there a theoretically grounded conception of EU citizenship to be had, and, if so, what would be its implications vis-à-vis the current European Union? In today’s world of complex rule-making interdependence the prospects for democratically authoritative decision-making beyond state contexts depend on the sorts of responses we can come up with to these kinds of questions. Pressing the concept of citizenship very hard will not help us to do so, and neither will reliance on the models and assumptions of yesteryear. This book tried to answer that

in Supranational Citizenship