An Analysis of Christian Joppke's 'The Inevitable Lightening of Citizenship Theory'
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In his essay "The Inevitable Lightening of Citizenship," Christian Joppke discusses the phenomenon whereby the subjective value of citizenship is decreasing in the face of globalization, because allegiance to a particular nation-state is far less important than the transnational transfer of wealth and ideology. At the same time, the objective value of citizenship in the "right" (meaning wealthy and relatively free) countries is increasing, because being born in one of these countries means that an individual will essentially inherit much greater choices and opportunities than someone born in the "wrong" (meaning poor or politically restrictive) country. While Joppke does not necessarily claim that the lightening of citizenship is good or bad, because he is more concerned with demonstrating how it is happening rather than discussing what should be done about it, considering the lightening of citizenship in the context of nationalism and its detrimental effects suggests that this lightening is actually a good thing, so long as it is coupled with a concerted effort to combat the increasing disparities in terms of wealth and opportunity offered by this evolved form of transnational citizenship. Before discussing Joppke's theory in greater detail, it is useful to at least acknowledge that the concept of citizenship as it is commonly considered today did not arise until relatively recently. Though notions of citizenship explicitly tied to a particular nation-state can be traced