It is clear that we now live in a time where the nation-state is no longer the undisputed highest form of governance. Whilst states are still important actors, as most commentators would agree, it is also accepted that there are now others who significantly affect power, in some cases over and above that of some states. As Castles points out “the development of the modern citizenship was inextricably linked with the emergence of the nation-state in Western Europe and North America… The current crisis of citizenship is thus linked with the challenges facing the nation-state model at the end of the twentieth century.
Global forces, most importantly those of an economic nature and accelerated technological ‘advances’, are seen to be reducing the states’ ability to govern and also retain its position as provider of citizenship and the benefits associated with national citizenship. The evidence to show that these forces are undermining the nation, and thus the ‘national’ emphasis of citizenship, are quite compelling, but there are also counter arguments that see the beginnings of a resurgence of national identity as a response to these forces.
Furthermore, there are questions as to whether national citizenship is simply being replaced by other forms of citizenship with the nation-state is still the only political unit capable of maintaining democratic citizenship. In this essay I will initially have to define and clarify what exactly is meant by the concept of national citizenship and also the ‘processes associated with globalisation’, as no definitive definitions exist. This is necessary as different interpretations of the two could lead to vastly different conclusions.
An examination of how global forces are being seen to undermine national citizenship and the counter arguments, that these forces are encouraging a fight-back or that they do not even pose a threat to national citizenship, will follow. Finally, some conclusions will be made alongside an assessment of the current situation and a consideration of possible future implications. National citizenship is generally regarded as the original and enduring form of citizenship.
Despite new approaches and theories of citizenship, the nation-state type is still today the dominant form of citizenship. Arising from the building of nation-states in the nineteenth century with the accompanying emphasis on the rights of the citizens from the French Revolution, citizenship played a key role in maintaining public order and loyalty to the state. As Castles points out, “the essence of the nation-state is the institution of citizenship: the integration of all the inhabitants of a territory into a political community, and their political equality as citizens. 2 Equally as important is the idea of ‘the other’.
National citizenship was concerned with the protection of the state and the citizen as the warrior-citizen. To this end, those who were not citizens were essentially foreigners or the enemy, those who could not be trusted or deemed loyal to the state. National citizenship therefore revolves around these two elements. The rights given to citizens by the state in return for their loyalty and preparedness to lay down their life for their country but also the exclusion of non-citizens.
These factors are very important in the upcoming discussion as the forces of globalisation are seen by many to undermine both of these aspects. As Sykes points out, “globalisation is both a contested notion and a contested process. ” 3 A minimal definition of globalisation provided by Holm & Sorensen sees globalisation as “the intensification of economic, political, social and cultural relations across borders.
Castles goes into more detail and sees globalisation as encompassing six major aspects or processes; a global economy, increasing technological advances in international communication and information, the formation of regional economies, the development of supra-national institutions, universal rights as global norms and a global commitment to common values such as democracy and human rights. 5 What must be remembered is that there are different dimensions of globalisation, which can be seen in tandem, separately or even in opposition. Moreover, these forces do not necessarily all lead to the same end.
Furthermore, the extent to which these different dimensions are emphasised will affect national citizenship to differing degrees and in different ways. For example, globalisation is seen to lead to a breaking down of borders, economically, socially and politically toward a global market and polity. However it is also seen to strengthen local and regional polities and economies at the same time in response to the same pressures. This small example goes to show that the global ‘processes’ do not act in a vacuum, nor do they have simple and single results.
As Arnason sees it “globalisation is not only synonymous with an assumed irresistible movement towards either uniformity or diversification. It also provides a context in which old particularisms can be reaffirmed and reconsolidate. 6″ However, It is clear that with technological advances, the world is becoming a ‘smaller’ place with information and financial flows less bound by space, time and geography. Globalisation addressed is therefore, for the purposes of this essay, simply a blanket term that covers economic, political, social and cultural forces, which can affect any area or polity on the globe.
Whatever particular forms the processes of globalisation take, it is seen by Castles to affect national citizenship in three main ways. Firstly, that the power and autonomy of the nation-state is undermined and thus national citizenship is in turn undermined. Secondly that it diminishes the cultural or ideological homogeneity of a national territory and, thirdly, that globalisation has encouraged mass transnational and international migration, which has further affected cultural unity, based on a national model7.
For the sake of this essay I shall use these three elements to elucidate the challenge to national citizenship by the ‘processes of globalisation. ‘ Firstly, an appraisal of to what extent or even whether the autonomy of the nation-state is undermined at all is needed. Commentary on the weakening autonomy of the nation-state focuses around many different aspects of globalisation but the economic forces of globalisation are by far the most far-reaching and threatening to national sovereignty. These economic impacts are clear.
In the economic field, globalisation has been used to designate an increasing internationalisation of economic exchange and production; the abandonment of regulation on financial flows and trade, leading to an increasing mobility of capital, goods, services and labour; new ‘dislocation’ and ‘relocation’ of economic activities both in and between nations; and increasing tax competition between countries 8”. The increased openness of trade and the levels of capital mobility result in an increased need for economies to present themselves as attractive to business and investment.
This is to prevent domestic industry from moving abroad and also to lure foreign investment in. Thus Globalisation has been seen as changing “… the general economic context in which social policies are implemented 9. ” This affects the ability of nation-state governments to protect and provide for their citizens, in effect that “social and non-economic objectives might be sacrificed to the overriding priority of efficient production for highly contested markets… cheap inputs, including cheap labour, are a competitive asset because they facilitate competitive pricing10. In this way, not only does globalisation affect a nation-states ability to provide welfare and social protection for its citizens, thus undermining national citizenship; these economic forces are also seen to threaten the democratic basis of the nation-state. This threat to national citizenship is argued by Schnapper. Democracy is based on principle of participation and representation. Globalisation undermines the ability of governments to autonomously look after their own economies and thus the policies that stem from this inadequacy are, in effect, out of their hands.
Aside from threatening governmental legitimacy, global markets undermine the participatory right of the national population to influence domestic economic policies11. She argues that this undermines the rights-obligations dichotomy, which is central to the nation-state model. What must be remembered however is that Schnapper uses a territorially bounded concept of democracy, and although this takes nothing away from her notion of globalisation undermining the nation-state and thus national citizenship, other supranational forms of democracy are seen by others, such as Scholte and McGrew, to enhance democracy12.
Reich takes this argument further: “As almost every factor of production -money, technology, factories, and equipment – moves effortlessly across border, the very idea of a national economy is becoming meaningless13. ” He questions the possibility of there being a national society in the absence of a national economy. He cites the fact that economic well being along national lines encouraged a sense of national well being and national solidarity, and that without national control of economics, this sense of national solidarity is replaced by individual economic and global concerns14.
In The Borderless World, Ohmae sees consumerism as being the most powerful global force that, due to global managerialism of economics and supra-national human rights norms, makes the nation-state and governments redundant. “It has become so powerful that it has swallowed most consumers and corporations, made traditional national borders almost disappear, and pushed bureaucrats, politicians and the military towards the status of declining industries15”. Economic power has therefore passed from state to multinationals and markets.
All of these arguments show the extent to which global economic forces undermine the autonomy of the nation-state and thus make it unable to fulfil its responsibilities towards its citizens. The importance of national citizenship over the status of illegal or legal immigrants or denizen has always been the protection and benefits of belonging to the state. If the state can no longer fulfil its role then the membership and exclusivity of being a national citizen is only symbolic.
This leads on to what Castles sees as the second challenge to the idea of national citizenship: the idea of global forces undermining the cultural homogeneity of the nation-state. Related to the idea above of a nation-state with dwindling ability to protect its citizens economically, Castles goes onto to argue that supra-national norms and ideals have now taken over political and social provision of rights. Enshrined in international treaties and agreements, a universal concept of citizen’s rights makes the idea of citizenship being reliant on the nation-state even more redundant.
In Limits of Citizenship, Soysal argues that “a new and more universal concept of citizenship has unfolded in the post-war era, one whose organising and legitimating principles are based on universal personhood rather than national belonging16. ” Furthermore, she goes on to argue, “the classical formal order of the nation-state and its membership is not in place. The state is no longer an autonomous and independent organisation closed over a nationally defined population. Instead, we have a system of constitutionally interconnected states with a multiplicity of membership. 17 The idea of ‘Post-National belonging’ is heavily based on supra-national norms and institutions protecting universal human rights. Universal entitlements are still delivered but no longer rely on or are based upon formal, and by that token national, citizenship. The European Union is the clearest example of this with the commitment to freedom of labour and movement for EU citizens within the Union and also the recent signing, except for Britain, of the Schengen agreement for a common position on refugee and asylum immigration.
Soysal’s main conclusion is that the emergence of universal personhood is rapidly eroding the territorially bounded nation-state. Cultural homogeneity is also being eroded due to increased technological advances in the field of information and communication flows. If the nation, as Seton-Watson sees,” is a community of people, whose members are bound together by a sense of solidarity, a common culture, a national consciousness18″, this is clearly being undermined by global forces. In the field of cultural analysis, globalisation has been associated with the free and instantaneous circulation of information; a threat to traditional cultures and social cohesion coupled with cultural homogenisation or ‘Macdonaldisation19″.
If we couple this statement with Mishra’s view, that “… since it is the US that remains the most influential world power, it is the ideological preference of the US that are inscribed in transnational economic policies. 0” It is clear that cultural monopolies such as Hollywood, very powerful media barons such as Berlusconi or Murdoch, the extent to which US television is lasered around the world, the dominant supplier or consumer goods being American and a large proportion of academic literature originating from the US is seen in many quarters as ‘Americanising’ the world and destroying the cultural homogeneity of many nations and replacing it with the US version.
Castles’ third manifestation of globalisation undermining national citizenship is the increased mobility of people around the world and an increased volume of transnational migration and immigration. This undermines cultural unity as societies become even more ethnically, socially and culturally diverse on the ground. Coupled with Soysal’s emphasis on universal rights, national cultures are actively undermined with preponderance to satisfying increasingly diverse concerns. New communities form within communities and citizenship becomes unbounded and transferable.
The increase in dual nationality is an example of this in practice. This increases with inter-marriage and offspring of those with different national citizenship’s, especially if those are based on the principle of ius sanguinis, further complicated, for instance, if the child were to be born in a country where ius soli was the guiding principle of citizenship. If this idea is coupled with the idea of global norms and ideas perforating the sanctity of the nation-state, it is also clear that international migration also reinforces supra-national forms of association.
Communities can effectively be replicated and grafted into other host communities without the need to be assimilated or integrated. With the conjunction of international communication and the physical manifestation of non-national cultures being present through migration then again it is clear that cultural homogeneity are being undermined. As with most cases, this impacts negatively on the concept of national citizenship, although as above, not necessarily citizenship in every form. Although the majority view is that globalisation does present a serious threat to national citizenship, this does not necessarily occur in practice.
Governments may indeed be influenced, and may have increased difficulty protecting their citizens and thus maintaining the importance of national citizenship. However, the impact of globalisation may not actually negatively affect what governments can do. In fact, they may respond in the face of global pressures to reinforce cultural values and national consciousness. Many, such as Colin Hay, Torben Iverson and Will Hutton have shown that there is very little evidence of the threats of globalisation and that the dominance of this notion is ill founded and unjustified.
Hutton maintains that the threat which globalisation presents to national governments is more rhetorical than real21. Schwartz highlights a further weakness in these arguments: “… in all of these arguments, the traditional elements of motive, opportunity and method remain under specified… Causal chains… are missing22”. The arguments rely on coincidence rather than causation, which weaken them. It is clear that some of the forces and processes of globalisation are undermining national citizenship.
However it is questionable whether national citizenship was not already weakened and effective anywhere before these global forces became powerful. It is certainly debatable that nation-states were culturally or ethnically homogeneous at all. Essentially Castles and others do see national citizenship as being fundamentally undermined and in need of an overhaul. Global forces and powers are clearly adversely affecting the economic and political powers of national governments and undermining culturally organised and based states through the cross border transfers and flows of money, information and influence.
Therefore Castles sees the future of citizenship somewhat differently. “Citizenship should not therefore be connected to nationality. Citizenship should be a political community without any claim to common cultural identity23. ” However this is qualified by the need for the retention of power of the nation-state, based on Castles’ judgement that it is still the only potential reference point for citizenship and possible mechanism for citizenship provision. This may well change with real and effective steps towards a genuine supra-national citizenship, for example as exhibited rudimentarily by the European Union at the moment.
Globalisation is in many ways undermining national-citizenship but perhaps this is because national-citizenship is anachronistic in the world today. One hundred years ago it was the dominant form, although it is debatable as to whether it actually ever truly existed, but now we need a more universal concept, perhaps ‘post national’ as argued by Soysal, differentiated as argued by Young or multicultural citizenship as proposed by Kymlicka. It is not simply global pressures that are undermining national citizenship but they certainly are helping it into the history books.