Theories of citizenship: feminism and multiculturalism

Michael Lister

in Citizenship in Contemporary Europe

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780748633418
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671977 | DOI:
Theories of citizenship: feminism and multiculturalism

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In addition to the classical theories of citizenship there are some critical theories of citizenship, which are orientated around the issues of identity, difference and inclusion/exclusion. Despite having the same rights as other members of the community, there are many groups, such as ethnic minorities and women, who feel that citizenship does not take account of that difference and as such, feel excluded from the community. The multicultural critique, therefore, criticises the “universal” theories of citizenship, seeing them as a reflection of the dominant groups' identity. It instead argues for a differentiated citizenship which takes account of and respects difference, and in doing so, includes them into the community. This position has, in turn, been criticised by those who see a retreat from universalism, as highly damaging to the concept of citizenship. In a similar way, a number of feminist theorists have pointed out how citizenship is a gendered concept and have sought to develop a feminist theory of citizenship.

Keywords: Multiculturalism; Multicultural Citizenship; Feminism; Feminist Citizenship; Identity; Difference; Equality

Chapter.  10441 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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