International Politics

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 203–224

Nation and Empire: Hierarchies of Citizenship in the New Global Order

  • Stephen Castles


Citizenship in nation-states has always contained tensions between inclusion and exclusion, between the citizen and the national, between the active and the passive citizen and between the citizen as political sovereign and the warrior-citizen. These tensions have been transformed and sharpened by globalization and the emergence of a global order based on the hegemony of a single superpower. For the first time in history, most states have the institutional structures of democratic nation-states, and the majority of the world's people are defined as citizens. This article argues that this formal equality masks a new global hierarchy of nation-states and of citizenships. These hierarchies apply with regard to international law, trade, the control of weapons of mass destruction and global governance. As a result patterns of differentiated citizenship within nation-states are now overlaid by patterns of global inequality.


citizenship nation-state global order migration racism North-South inequality 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Castles
    • 1
  1. 1.Refugee Studies Centre, Queen Elizabeth House, University of OxfordUK

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