ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Studying Political Community from the Citizen Up

Citizenship
Latin America
Local Government
USA
Political Sociology
Demoicracy
Trevor Stack
University of Aberdeen
Trevor Stack
University of Aberdeen
Download Full Paper

Abstract

In an ethnographic paper in west Mexico and California, Stack asked interviewees what citizenship meant to them. Their replies were often at odds with the social science of citizenship, with its focus on citizens claiming rights on states, and they spoke as much of being good citizens as they did of being citizens. By using the interviews to construct a profile of “the citizen” in west Mexico and California, Stack proceeds to a nuanced comparison of political community in each context. One variable between the two contexts was the pertinence of the formal status of citizen. Law was a more important register of citizenship in California than in Mexico. Law was also more significant than in Mexico in determining citizens’ relationship to political authority. Though the nation was salient in both cases, Stack observes that towns and cities figured as “political sub-communities”, subordinate to nations but with their own forms of membership and authority. Stack follows the course of a dispute in each context to illustrate his comparison of citizenship and political community.