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States without nations : citizenship for mortals

Author: Jacqueline Stevens
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, 2010.
Series: New directions in critical theory.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
As citizens, we hold certain truths to be self-evident: that the rights to own land, marry, inherit property, and especially to assume birthright citizenship should be guaranteed by the state. The laws promoting these rights appear not only to preserve our liberty but to guarantee society remains just. Yet considering how much violence and inequality results from these legal mandates, Jacqueline Stevens asks whether  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Jacqueline Stevens
ISBN: 9780231148764 0231148763 9780231520218 0231520212 9780231148771 0231148771
OCLC Number: 317068207
Description: xv, 364 pages ; 24 cm.
Contents: The persistence and harms of birthright citizenship in so-called liberal theory and countries --
Abolishing birthright citizenship --
A theory of wealth for mortals --
Abolishing inheritance --
The law of the mother --
Abolishing marriage --
Abolishing private land rights : toward a new practice of eminent domain --
Religion and the nation-state --
Appendix : methods for an open society.
Series Title: New directions in critical theory.
Responsibility: Jacqueline Stevens.

Abstract:

As citizens, we hold certain truths to be self-evident: that the rights to own land, marry, inherit property, and especially to assume birthright citizenship should be guaranteed by the state. The laws promoting these rights appear not only to preserve our liberty but to guarantee society remains just. Yet considering how much violence and inequality results from these legal mandates, Jacqueline Stevens asks whether we might be making the wrong assumptions. Would a world without such laws be more just? Arguing that the core laws of the nation-state are more about a fear of death than a desire for freedom, Stevens imagines a world in which birthright citizenship, family inheritance, state-sanctioned marriage, and private land ownership are eliminated. Would chaos be the result? Drawing on political theory and history and incorporating contemporary social and economic data, she brilliantly critiques our sentimental attachments to birthright citizenship, inheritance, and marriage and highlights their harmful outcomes, including war, global apartheid, destitution, family misery, and environmental damage. It might be hard to imagine countries without the rules of membership and ownership that have come to define them, but conjuring new ways of reconciling our laws with the condition of mortality reveals the flaws of our present institutions and inspires hope for moving beyond them.

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Imagining governments and citizenship unbeholden to rules of birth-that is, cleaving the state from the family (i.e. the nation)-is the single most important thought experiment in political theory Read more...

 
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