Noncitizenism: Recognising Noncitizen Capabilities in a World of Citizens, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover


Recognising Noncitizen Capabilities in a World of Citizens, 1st Edition

By Tendayi Bloom


222 pages | 18 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138049185
pub: 2017-11-02
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315169736
pub: 2017-10-25
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Noncitizens have always been present in liberal political philosophy. Often hard to situate within traditional frameworks that prioritise citizenship, noncitizens can appear voiceless and rightsless, which has implications for efforts towards global justice and justice in migration. This book proposes an alternative.

Noncitizenism identifies an analytical category of noncitizenship. While maintaining the importance of citizenship, noncitizenship is another form of special individual-State relationship. It operates far from a State, at its borders, and within its territory, providing a tool for examining the continuity between sites of engagement and the literatures, questions, and conclusions relating to them. The book argues that an accurate liberal theoretical framework, and one which can address contemporary challenges, must acknowledge the political relationship of noncitizenship between individuals and States.

This book is for students and scholars of political philosophy and for those interested in noncitizenship and how it can inform the response of liberal theory, citizenship, global justice, migration studies, political theory and policy work.


‘It takes a bold thinker to introduce a new term into the thicket of contemporary discussions of citizenship, migration and belonging. Tendayi Bloom does this with her ambitious concept of noncitzenism. She presents noncitizenship as a unifying analytic category that describes a particular relationship between individuals and States. Her claim is that the relationship deserves attention because of its special consequences for the rights of affected individuals, irrespective of their particular type of noncitizenship. Cogently argued and lucidly written, this impressive book is both a valuable addition to the literature on one of the major political challenges of our times, and a stimulating provocation for constituencies actively engaged in contesting the many injustices it describes.’ - Jacqueline Bhabha, Harvard University, USA.

‘By documenting critical social movements this book illustrates how the rights of noncitizens are being constituted as a site of political struggle. It is a brilliant book that restores political agency to noncitizens in (liberal) theory – something that states resist in (illiberal) practices.’ Engin Isin, Queen Mary University of London, UK.

‘This book is a timely challenge to ‘methodological citizenism’ – the assumption that all political thinking has to be structured around citizenship. Against this, it poses the idea of noncitizenship, rather than non-citizenship. Drawing on a wide range of resources, it points the way forward, offering a vision of what liberal theory and practice could look like if they were to break out of the state-citizen relationship. And it stands as an urgent warning that, if they are to remain relevant to the project of social justice, then they must embrace the category of the noncitizen as an essential part of the liberal framework. It is essential reading for anybody concerned with the contradictions of national membership and global justice.’ - Phillip Cole, University of the West of England, UK.

'…Noncitizenism is an ambitious and radical work, yet it is also careful and nuanced… Bloom presents a significant and timely proposal for a liberal theory of justice which can better account for the rights of noncitizens and one which is situated in a growing field of attention to noncitizenship studies that challenges us to look beyond the disciplinary orthodoxies of liberal theory itself.' - Katherine Tonkiss, Aston University, UK. Review in Migration Studies, May 2018.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Noncitizenism

3. Theoretical Error, Real-World Problems

4. Introducing ‘Unwanted’ Noncitizens

5. Banal Dehumanisation

6. Unwanted and Ambivalent Citizenship

7. Noncitizens Overseas and Migration

8. Activating Noncitizenship

9. Dynamic Capabilities

10. Learning from Feminism

11. Global Challenges to Citizenism

About the Author

Tendayi Bloom is Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at The Open University, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies on Challenges, Crises and Dissent in World Politics

This new series focuses on major issues that have surfaced in recent years, and which will pose significant and complex challenges to inter/national politics in the next few decades. While we are open to any exciting ideas for edited, single or co-authored work, we are particularly interested in book proposals that explore dissent and crises in world politics and challenge our current understanding of global order. We are open to a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches including critical and postmodern studies and further relate to following themes:

  • The challenge to Western hegemony - The rise of China, India, Brazil and the revival of Russia have powerful impacts on the nature of what has long been regarded as a fixed point in IR – a common (Western, and mainly liberal) understanding of global order. The growing self-confidence of the BRICS and others as well as the emerging focus on everyday phenomena and subnational actors/groups in international politics, however, show that Western dominant views are increasingly questioned. Can a common foundation of values, ideas and interests emerge from these multifaceted challenges to Western power and values?
  • The challenge to inter/national and regional governability - The economic recession, environmental problems such as climate change, the decision of the American-led coalition to go to war in Iraq without Security Council approval, the threat of ISIS, the failure of the EU Constitution and later the Lisbon Treaty to secure popular approval and the inability of the UN to make much difference to many problems have all exposed serious deficiencies in the regional and global governance instruments that many once saw as the basis of a ‘new world order’. Is this merely a pause in an inevitable progress towards further global and regional integration or are we facing some more fundamental problems associated with the rise of multiple heterogonous and intertwined orders in global politics? How do these increasing frictions and crises impede the maintenance of national coherence in Western and non-Western states?
  • Ideologies, Religion, Nationalism and Extremism - A consequence of globalisation has been an attempt to reaffirm various local or particular identities in response to perceived challenges of globalisation, such as migration, economic restructuring, the spread of Western values and the decline of traditional morality. Illustrations of this phenomenon include the rise of Islamist politics as well as other forms of religious fundamentalism, the emergence of protest movements on the ground and growing digital communities, the rise of far right parties/groups in many countries and the question of internet and information security. How might these phenomena damage the prospects of a shared multilateral (or global?) framework of assumptions and common interests that most would see as essential to effective global governance?
  • Changing World and the lack of leadership – The world we are living in is characterized by a growing amount of uncertainties. Crises and contingency seem to emerge as the "new normal" of inter/national politics. It is thus increasingly hard for political leaders to translate power into outcomes. In this book series, we also invite contributions by former or current practitioners, policy advisors and scholars who are working in the field of academic/policy-divide to elaborate particularly their view on dissent and crises in current world affairs.

If you have an idea for a new book in Routledge Series on Dissent and Crises in World Politics, please send a written proposal to the Series Editors:

Karoline Postel-Vinay

Nadine Godehardt

For guidance on how to structure your proposal, please visit:

Learn more…

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