'Men are not born fit for citizenship, but must be made so': Spinoza and citizenship

Prokhovnik, Raia (2009). 'Men are not born fit for citizenship, but must be made so': Spinoza and citizenship. Citizenship Studies, 13(4) pp. 413–429.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13621020903011237


The modern conception of citizenship contains often unacknowledged key background assumptions - about the role of rights in citizenship, about the citizen modelled on a liberal autonomous and rational individual, and about the equality of citizens within a democratic state. Spinoza's political works give us a useful perspective on the historicity of these assumptions. Whereas the modern conception is abstract, universalist, and depoliticised, Spinoza's sense of the citizen's belonging is adamantly specific, particularist, and political, and offers a way forward for rethinking citizenship. The key concepts of freedom and republicanism are analysed, and a political reading is developed of Spinoza's view of citizenship in terms of a way of conducting politics.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 18821
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 1469-3593
  • Keywords
  • citizenship; politics; subjectivity; social construction; practice;
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2009 Taylor & Francis
  • Depositing User
  • Raia Prokhovnik