S-Space College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학) Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소) Development and Society Development and Society Vol.39 No.1/2 (2010)
Colonialism, Revolution, Development : A Historical Perspective on Citizenship in Political Struggles in Eastern Asia
- Dirlik, Arif
- Issue Date
- Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
- Development and Society, Vol.39 No.2, pp. 187-210
- Intensified blending of populations through migrations, and the problem of citizenship in different national contexts, in recent years have foregrounded questions of culture and cultural difference in citizenship studies. These questions have been compounded by a pervasive supicion of a universalistic understanding of citizenship for its possible Eurocentric implications. Citizenship studies in Eastern Asia partake of this general problematic of culture. The complication of citizenship through recognition of its cultural dimension is a salutary development, but one that also presents a new predicament: loss of coherence of the concept, as well as a bias to culturalism that disguises the radical challenge the idea of citizenship has presented to inherited notions of political belonging, most importantly, the remaking of subjects into citizens that has accompanied the globalization of the nation-form from the late 19th century. Struggles for citizenship also bear upon questions of democracy and human rights, which also disappear from sight in culturalist readings. This is the problem that is addressed in the essay. I argue that the preoccupation with culture, if unchecked, threatens to erase a century long history of struggles for citizenship, democracy and human rights in Eastern Asian societies. Discussions of citizenship need to be sensitive to these struggles which are still very much issues of Eastern Asian politics.
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