Fully Human: Personhood, Citizenship, and Rights

Fully Human: Personhood, Citizenship, and Rights

by Lindsey N. Kingston


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Citizenship within our current international system signifies being fully human, or being worthy of fundamental human rights. For some vulnerable groups, however, this form of political membership is limited or missing entirely, and they face human rights challenges despite a prevalence of international human rights law. These protection gaps are central to hierarchies of personhood, or inequalities that render some people more "worthy" than others for protections and political membership.

As a remedy, Lindsey N. Kingston proposes the ideal of "functioning citizenship," which requires an active and mutually-beneficial relationship between the state and the individual and necessitates the opening of political space for those who cannot be neatly categorized. It signifies membership in a political community, in which citizens support their government while enjoying the protections and services associated with their privileged legal status. At the same time, an inclusive understanding of functioning citizenship also acknowledges that political membership cannot always be limited by the borders of the state or proven with a passport. Fully Human builds its theory by looking at several hierarchies of personhood, from the stateless to the forcibly displaced, migrants, nomadic peoples, indigenous nations, and "second class" citizens in the United States. It challenges the binary between citizen and noncitizen, arguing that rights are routinely violated in the space between the two. By recognizing these realities, we uncover limitations built into our current international system—but also begin to envision a path toward the realization of human rights norms founded on universality and inalienability. The ideal of functioning citizenship acknowledges the persistent power of the state, yet it does not rely solely on traditional conceptions of citizenship that have proven too flawed and limited for securing true rights protection.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190918262
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 04/03/2019
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Lindsey N. Kingston is an Associate Professor of International Human Rights at Webster University, where she directs the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Constructing Political Membership and Worthiness

Chapter 1: The Changing Value and Meaning of Citizenship

Part 2: Newcomers and Noncitizens

Chapter 2: Statelessness and Elusive Political Membership
Chapter 3: Forced Displacement and Broken Ties
Chapter 4: Irregular Human Movement and the Creation of Liminal Spaces

Part 3: Marginalized Nations and Minorities

Chapter 5: Nomadic Peoples and Alternate Conceptions of Space
Chapter 6: Indigenous Nations and Tribal Sovereignty
Chapter 7: Second-Class Citizens in the "Land of the Free"

Part 4: Creating Inclusive Forms of Membership

Chapter 8: Conveying the Problem(s) and Representing Personhood
Chapter 9: Actualizing the Ideal of Functioning Citizenship

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