"This remarkable book does the unusual: it embeds its focus in a larger complex operational space. The migrant, the refugee, the citizen, all emerge from that larger context. The focus is not the usual detailed examination of the subject herself, but that larger world of wars, grabs, contestations, and, importantly, the claimers and resisters."- Saskia Sassen, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, USA
This thought-provoking book begins by looking at the incredible complexities of "American identity" and ends with the threats to civil liberties with the vast expansion of state power through technology. A must-read for anyone interested in the future of the promise and realities of citizenship in the modern global landscape.- Kevin R. Johnson, Dean, UC Davis School of Law, USA
Momen focuses on the basic paradox that has long marked national identity: the divide between liberal egalitarian self-conception and persistent practices of exclusion and subordination. The result is a thought-provoking text that is sure to be of interest to scholars and students of the American experience. - Aziz Rana, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School, USA
This book is an exploration of American citizenship, emphasizing the paradoxes that are contained, normalized, and strengthened by the gaps existing between proposed policies and real-life practices in multiple arenas of a citizen's life. The book considers the evolution of citizenship through the journey of the American nation and its identity, its complexities of racial exclusion, its transformations in response to domestic demands and geopolitical challenges, its changing values captured in immigration policies and practices, and finally its dynamics in terms of the shift in state power vis-à-vis citizens. While it aspires to analyze the meaning of citizenship in America from the multiple perspectives of history, politics, and policy, it pays special attention to the critical junctures where rhetoric and reality clash, allowing for the production of certain paradoxes that define citizenship rights and shape political discourse.
Mehnaaz Momen is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Texas A & M International University in Laredo, Texas, where she teaches courses in Political Science, Urban Studies, and Public Administration.
Chapter 1 American Identity: Ideals vs. Illusion
The Rhetoric: The Greek, the Roman, and the British Heritage
The Reality: Rewriting History, Changing Marketplace
The Paradox: Self-identity of the American "People"
Chapter 2 Nation-building: Nation-States vs. Empire
The Rhetoric: Manifest Destiny
The Reality: Territory Minus the People
The Paradox: Impossible Republic, Elusive Empire
Chapter 3 World Relations: Hegemony vs. Globalization
The Rhetoric: American Exceptionalism
The Reality: The American Century
The Paradox: The Cosmopolitan vs. the Patriot
Chapter 4 Immigration: Becoming "Us" versus Remaining "Them"
The Rhetoric: Rules of Inclusion and Exclusion
The Reality: The Rites of Passage
The Paradox: Immigration as a Political Tool
Chapter 5 State Power: Technology vs. Technology
The Rhetoric: Transparency and Accountability of Government
The Reality: Expansion of State Power
The Paradox: Public Engagement, Segregation, and Loss of Civil Liberties