Using applied political theory, JoAnne Myers presents five markers by which citizens become second-class citizens—property, productivity, participation, patriotism, and reproduction. Citizenship is a highly contested status since it grants members political rights and responsibilities. It is contextualized by cultural, political, historical, economic, situational, and place. In the United States, we think of citizenship in principle as democratic, but citizenship is not just a binary status: norms, policies, and laws can mark some citizens as “other.”
In The Good Citizen: The Markers of Privilege in America, Myers argues that being marked as not having or achieving these markers is how citizenship is controlled and regulated. To illustrate this argument, each chapter begins with a practical question or myth to ease the reader into the marker being examined. She later articulates the ways in which law and norms and biopower regulates and controls citizens in three policy areas.
Myers moves beyond theories of citizen marginalization based on identity politics and intersectionality to provide a new understanding of citizenship practice. The Good Citizen will be of interest to scholars and researchers of politics, sociology, or legal studies of citizenship, and anyone concerned with distributive justice.
Table of Contents
2. Citizen and Political Theory In America
3. Myth America
6. Political Participation
7. Productive Citizen
8. Re-Producing Citizens
JoAnne Myers is associate professor of political science and former chair of the Political Science Department of Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY. As an applied political philosopher, her research interrogates the relationship between citizen, non-citizen, and the state in the modern liberal state, focusing on human rights.
"In The Good Citizen, Professor JoAnne Myers makes us think seriously and critically about the ever contested concept and practices of liberal-democratic citizenship. Informed by history both American and comparative, she challenges us to see the realities of American belonging, the lived experience of citizenship, the elevation of some and the marginalization of others, in terms of five markers: patriotism, property ownership, participation, productivity, and re-productivity. Moreover, she writes not merely as a political scientist, but as a citizen, indeed, an American citizen who is deeply worried about the future of American democratic life given the widening inequalities and intensifying oppressions that so many of us endure. And thankfully, she does not simply point out and warn us of the dangers threatening us. She also advances arguments about what we might do to redeem and advance the ideals of citizenship we profess. This is a most timely book. A book that will help us, all of us, not only scholars and students, better understand and address the manifold crises we confront." — Harvey J. Kaye, Director, Center for History and Social Change, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay