Benhabib, Seyla (1997) Wer sind wir? Probleme politischer Identitäten im ausgehenden 20. Jahrhundert. Who are we? Problems of political identities in the late 20th century. IHS Political Science Series, 42, April 1997. [Working Paper]
The process of European unification, which some call a ›myth‹, yet others an ›illusion‹, gives rise to important questions about national membership and citizenship rights. This article examines recent developments in Europe from the background of the history of political thought about citizenship. Citizenship involves three salient aspects: collective identity, privileges of political membership, and a bundle of rights and entitlements which accrue to the citizen. T.H. Marshall has analyzed this last aspect of citizenship through his famous categorization of civil, political, and social rights. What we are observing in contemporary Europe is a »dissociation« or »disaggregation« of these various aspects of citizenship. Migrant workers and third country nationals often enjoy civic and social rights, while their political rights are limited. The article challenges the »coupling« of nationality and the privileges of political citizenship. I argue that ›jus sanguinis‹' and ›jus soli‹ are not alone justifiable, from a normative viewpoint, to confer citizenship rights and that consent is the only principle which is wholly consistent with the selfunderstanding of liberal democracies in the granting of citizenship rights. I plead for a decentered model of the polity, in which membership and participation in the institutions of civil society are steps toward the acquisition of the status of citizen.
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