Contesting Citizenship

Irregular Migrants and New Frontiers of the Political

Anne McNevin

Columbia University Press

Contesting Citizenship

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Pub Date: June 2011

ISBN: 9780231151283

240 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£47.00

Pub Date: June 2011

ISBN: 9780231522243

240 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $59.99£47.00

Contesting Citizenship

Irregular Migrants and New Frontiers of the Political

Anne McNevin

Columbia University Press

Irregular migrants complicate the boundaries of citizenship and stretch the parameters of political belonging. Comprised of refugees, asylum seekers, "illegal" labor migrants, and stateless persons, this group of migrants occupies new sovereign spaces that generate new subjectivities. Investigating the role of irregular migrants in the transformation of citizenship, Anne McNevin argues that irregular status is an immanent (rather than aberrant) condition of global capitalism, formed by the fast-tracked processes of globalization.

McNevin casts irregular migrants as more than mere victims of sovereign power, shuttled from one location to the next. Incorporating examples from the United States, Australia, and France, she shows how migrants reject their position as "illegal" outsiders and make claims on the communities in which they live and work. For these migrants, outsider status operates as both a mode of subjectification and as a site of active resistance, forcing observers to rethink the enactment of citizenship. McNevin connects irregular migrant activism to the complex rescaling of the neoliberal state. States increasingly prioritize transnational market relations that disrupt the spatial context for citizenship. At the same time, states police their borders in ways that reinvigorate territorial identities. Mapping the broad dynamics of political belonging in a neoliberal era, McNevin provides invaluable insight into the social and spatial transformation of citizenship, sovereignty, and power.
Contesting Citizenship carefully treads a new path, inviting readers to think differently about citizenship by 'hearing' and 'seeing' the acts of those who have been rendered as outsiders and strangers to citizenship. Engin Isin, The Open University
In a cosmopolitan age, the movement of displaced people, arguably an inherent part of the human condition from time immemorial, inspires much fear among the settled. Rich in empirical detail from the United States, Australia, and France, Anne McNevin's book views 'irregular immigrants' as more than victims. Instead, she argues they are agents of changing notions of political belonging and novel understandings of citizenship. In challenging the presumed stability of 'regular' sovereign power, they are defining a new 'frontier of the political' that has massive implications for the meaning of citizenship in the contemporary world. John Agnew, University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Globalization and Sovereignty
An innovative addition to the scholarship on citizenship.... Recommended. Choice
...refreshing and particularly important... Stephanie J. Silverman, Journal of Refugee Studies
A very impressive book. Historical Materialism

About the Author

Anne McNevin is a research fellow and lecturer in international studies at the Globalism Research Centre, RMIT University, Melbourne. She is also an associate editor of the journal Citizenship Studies.