Citizenship: Towards a Feminist Synthesis

Feminist Review 57 (1):28-48 (1997)
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Abstract

A synthesis of rights and participatory approaches to citizenship, linked through the notion of human agency, is proposed as the basis for a feminist theory of citizenship. Such a theory has to address citizenship's exclusionary power in relation to both nation-state ‘outsiders’ and ‘insiders’. With regard to the former, the article argues that a feminist theory and politics of citizenship must embrace an internationalist agenda. With regard to the latter, it offers the concept of a ‘differentiated universalism’ as an attempt to reconcile the universalism which lies at the heart of citizenship with the demands of a politics of difference. Embracing also the reconstruction of the public-private dichotomy, citizenship, reconceptualized in this way, can, it is argued, provide us with an important theoretical and political tool.

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