The dialectic and the tragedy of citizenship

Yegen M.

EUROPEAN POLITICAL SCIENCE, vol.7, no.1, pp.98-112, 2008 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1057/palgrave.eps.2210149
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.98-112
  • Keywords: citizenship, equality and difference, universalism versus. particularism
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This essay aims to review the contemporary debate on citizenship with a focus on the present dilemma of the institution of citizenship between equality and difference. Citizenship today seems to have become stuck between a categorical commitment to either universalism or particularism. It is as if there is no alternative but to opt for either assimilation (national citizenship) or group fetishism (the end of citizenship). In this essay, however, I argue that citizenship today is not as helpless as it looks. I suggest that rethinking the categories of equality and universality may save modern citizenship from this dilemma between equality and difference. Perceiving equality as equality of differences and not homogenisation and pursuing a contingent notion of universality may, I argue, be of some use in coping with the dilemma in question.