At the Edges of Citizenship : Security and the Constitution of Non-citizen Subjects book cover
1st Edition

At the Edges of Citizenship
Security and the Constitution of Non-citizen Subjects

ISBN 9781472430366
Published February 9, 2016 by Routledge
148 Pages

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Book Description

Proposing a new, dynamic conception of citizenship, this book argues against understandings of citizenship as a collection of rights that can be either possessed or endowed, and demonstrates it is an emergent condition that has temporal and spatial dimensions. Furthermore, citizenship is shown to be continually and contingently reconstituted through the struggles between those considered insiders and outsiders. Significantly, these struggles do not result in a clear division between citizens and non-citizens, but in a multiplicity of states that are at once included within and excluded from the political community. These liminal states of citizenship are elaborated in relation to three specific forms of non-citizenship: the ’respectable illegal, the ’intimate foreigner’ and the ’abject citizen’. Each of these modalities of citizenship corresponds to either the figure of the clandestino/a or the nomad as invoked in the 2008 Italian Security Package and a second set of laws, commonly referred to as the ’Nomad Emergency Decree’. Exploring how this legislation affected and was negotiated by individuals and groups who were constituted as ’objects of security’, author Kate Hepworth focuses on the first-hand experience of individuals deemed threats to the nation. Situated within the field of human geography, the book draws on literature from citizenship studies, critical security studies and migration studies to show how processes of securitisation and irregularisation work to delimit between citizens and non-citizens, as well as between legitimate and illegitimate outsiders.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Insecurity and irregularity at the edges of citizenship; Encounters with the clandestino/a and the nomad; Illegals per bene? The ambivalent criminalisation of unlicensed traders; Intimate foreigners: the precarious, contingent legitimacy of the badante; Abject citizens: nomad emergencies and the deportability of Romanian Roma; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

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Kate Hepworth is a research fellow at the University of Technology Sydney. She is a Human Geographer specialising in citizenship and border studies. Her specific interests include urban ethnography, theories of embodiment and emplacement, and legal geographies.


’At the Edges of Citizenship is a vivid and incisive ethnography that powerfully exposes the incoherent margins of the partition between "citizen" and "non-citizen. Foregrounding the instabilities between these juridical statuses and the paradoxical constructions of "insiders" and "outsiders, Kate Hepworth reveals the complexity and contradictions of discrepant experiences of migrant "illegality" and deportability in Italy alongside the vulnerability of Europe's most marginalized citizens to forcible eviction and deportation. This remarkably creative and insightful study is as subtle as a work of social theory as it is unforgettable as a sensitive depiction of the lived conditions of "intimate foreigners, "respectable illegals, and abject citizens.’ Nicholas De Genova, King's College London, UK ’In this important book, Hepworth paints a lively ethnographic portrait of sites occupied by migrant, non-citizen, nomad. Her canvas is the contemporary urban Italian landscape where migrant workers live out securitization and exclusion and survive, reconfiguring meanings and practices of citizenship. Hepworth understands the complexity of human relations and the depth and uncertainty required for meaningful social analysis.’ Alison Mountz, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada 'This is an impressive book that breaks new ground both theoretically and empirically. In it, Hepworth enables us to see citizenship in a new way by approaching citizenship in relation to its alterity - that is, those figures of excess that citizenship both embraces and repels in order to reproduce itself. What emerges is a complex terrain of struggle whereby citizen and non-citizen alike are transformed by their encounters, enabling us to witness processes of control and exclusion but also moments of solidarity and welcoming. The book will make a significant impression on the field of critical citizenship studies.' Peter Nyers, McMaster University, Canada