Moving Beyond Barriers
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Moving Beyond Barriers

Prospects for EU Citizenship

Edited by Sandra Seubert, Marcel Hoogenboom, Trudie Knijn, Sybe de Vries and Frans van Waarden

This book identifies, analyses and compares a variety of possible ‘barriers’ to the exercise of European citizenship and discusses ways to move beyond these barriers. It contributes in a multi-disciplinary way to a highly topical issue and offers new perspectives on EU citizenship in the sense that it critically analyses concepts of citizenship, the way EU citizenship is politically, legally and socially institutionalized, and elaborates alternatives to the current paths of realizing EU citizenship.
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Chapter 2: Boundaries and promises: conflicts of democratic citizenship and its prospects in the European Union

Sandra Seubert and Oliver Eberl


Modern democratic citizenship is, on the one hand, constructed as a bounded concept, intimately linked to the nation state, yet on the other it entails a universalistic promise of inclusion and is potentially unbounded. Since the ‘nationalisation’ of citizenship in the nineteenth century, the concept refers to a coherent status with particular rights and duties based on a collective identity, a ‘we’ perspective, defined by those being born within the bounded territory of a ‘nation state’. Yet the universalistic promises of citizenship are at odds with a bounded membership status that goes along with exclusions for social, gender and racial reasons and this potentially creates a transformative dynamic. These conflicts and dynamics are also mirrored in the development of European citizenship. This chapter sheds light on these questions by investigating historical and normative trajectories and social struggles that brought about modern notions of citizenship. It analyses the boundaries and promises, ambivalences and tensions embodied in the democratic concept of citizenship, and finally shows how they are mirrored in the institution of European citizenship, as well as in the discussion about its future.

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