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Women, Citizenship and Difference

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The article discusses some of the major issues which need to be examined in a gendered reading of citizenship. However, its basic claim is that a comparative study of citizenship should consider the issue of women's citizenship not only by contrast to that of men, but also in relation to women's affiliation to dominant or subordinate groups, their ethnicity, origin and urban or rural residence. It should also take into consideration global and transnational positionings of these citizenships. The article challenges the gender-blind and Westocentric character of many of the most hegemonic theorizations of citizenship, focusing in particular on the questions of membership in 'the community', group rights and social difference and the ways binaries of public/private and active/passive have been constructed to differentiate between different kinds of citizenships. The article argues that in order to be able to analyse adequately people's citizenship, especially in this era of ethnicization on the one hand and globalization on the other hand, and with the rapid pace at which relationships between states and their civil societies are changing, citizenship should best be analysed as a multi-tiered construct which applies, at the same time to people's membership in sub-, cross- and supra-national collectivities as well as in states.
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Document Type: Original Article

Publication date: 1998-11-01

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