The panel seeks to comparatively explore the gradation and degradation of citizenship within nation states. We will focus on how cultural values and practices legitimize or discourage citizenship inequalities by facilitating legislative changes that reconstitute the order of citizenship.
As a conferred status, citizenship is commonly imagined as a binary; one is either a citizen or not. However, citizenship is better understood as a spectrum of rights and opportunities to participate in public life, and is neither historically stable nor equally experienced. Citizenship excludes through differential inclusion and offers protection to some, while failing to safeguard the rights and wellbeing of others (Balibar 2017). The legal and cultural terrain on which the status and practice of citizenship rest are constantly shifting. While much has been written about the precarity of statelessness and migration (McNevin 2011, Gundogdu 2015), less has been written about the ways that precarity is experienced by citizens. Citizenship is gradated rather than universal, and in extreme cases its degradation can lead to legalized genocide. The inequalities of citizenship sustain histories of colonialism and racism, while ongoing states of emergency, new technologies of surveillance and in/security, and savage neoliberalism erode the legitimacy of old rights and the capacity to claim new ones. This panel seeks to create a forum for comparatively examining the cultural specificity of rights and the gradation and degradation of citizenship within states. We pose the central question of how cultural values and practices legitimize or discourage citizenship inequalities and facilitate the legislative changes that reconstitute citizenship within nation states, for example by rolling back or introducing new rights. Moreover, we seek to understand how such changes produce new precarities of life and how these affect the everyday realities of citizens.