Against CitizenshipThe Violence of the Normative

Against CitizenshipThe Violence of the Normative

Amy L. Brandzel

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780252040030

Publisher: University of Illinois Press


Numerous activists and scholars have appealed for rights, inclusion, and justice in the name of “citizenship.” This book shows that there is nothing redeemable about citizenship, nothing worth salvaging or sustaining in the name of “community” practice, or belonging. According to the book, citizenship is a violent dehumanizing mechanism that makes the comparative devaluing of human lives seem commonsensical, logical, and even necessary. The book argues that whenever we work on behalf of citizenship, whenever we work toward including more types of peoples under its reign, we inevitably reify the violence of citizenship against non-normative others. The book's focus on three legal case studies—same-sex marriage law, hate crime legislation, and Native Hawaiian sovereignty and racialization—exposes how citizenship confounds and obscures the mutual processes of settler colonialism, racism, sexism, and heterosexism. In this way, the book argues that citizenship requires anti-intersectionality, that is, strategies that deny the mutuality and contingency of race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation—and how, oftentimes, progressive left activists and scholars follow suit.