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 4: Troublesome transitions and historical continuities: citizenship in Europe, 1600–2000

Maarten Prak, Marcel Hoogenboom and Patrick Wallis


The chapter analyses the formation of European citizenship from a historical perspective. Compared to the transition of citizenship rights from the local to the national level in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, EU citizenship can be characterised as a unique project. Never before in history was an attempt made to forge more than two dozen highly developed nation states into a new supranational entity. The formation of citizenship in Europe was a two-stage process. During the medieval and early modern periods, a robust form of urban citizenship developed. In 1789, that urban model of citizenship was overturned by the French Revolution, which introduced a national model of citizenship. At the beginning of the 21st century the further integration of EU Member States has already resulted in the transfer of some national citizenship rights (especially civil and economic rights) to a higher – European – level. From a historical perspective, the chapter asks what alternatives Europe’s own history can offer.

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