Authored by: Sara Rich Dorman

Routledge Handbook of Democratization in Africa

Print publication date:  July  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138081246
eBook ISBN: 9781315112978
Adobe ISBN:


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Citizenship and democracy interact in complex ways that limit the functioning of democratic institutions and the ability of individuals to participate within them. Citizenship is about more than just belonging or nationality; it also determines rights and privileges, “accountability” between elected leaders and the masses, and behavioral norms. In addition to asking “who has citizenship,” it is important to ask “what kind of citizenship” exists. In order to explore these questions, this chapter first examines the exclusionary aspects of citizenship—how it is sometimes used to exclude particular individuals and groups from political participation, usually for short-term political gains. The chapter then moves on to look at the way in which normative ideas about citizenship shape politics: the political impact of exclusionary politics; the remarkable staying power of colonial ideas; and the ways in which states deploy policy to construct ideas about “good” citizens. Finally, the chapter considers insurgent citizenship—the ways in which protest challenges the depoliticization of state–citizen relationships, and other bottom-up challenges to state-produced citizenship regimes—and some possible avenues for future research.

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