Citizenship: This chapter aids us to grasp how Britain, according toJames Hampshire (2005), has turned into a multi-racial society against thewishes of its politicians and a large proportion of its people.
Hampshire(2005) delves into the politics of immigration in post-war Britain and bringsto light how unease about public health service and welfare scrounging impactsgovernment policy and influences changes made to the law. Hampshire (2005) putsforward the argument that radical ideas are becoming more prominent in post-wardeliberations about immigration and says that such deliberations have seriousconsequences on our society. He demonstrates clearly in his argument how thegovernment claims to appeal to the notion of “belonging” (pp. 126) soit can validate racialized policies put in place to slow down the immigrationrates from previously colonised countries such as Algeria and Morocco. Asimmigration has been a prominent topic of conversation on the political agendaover the past decade, Hampshire gives an essential framework to present-daydebates by demonstrating how notions about race, demography and belongingoverlap to shape immigration policy. One strength which cannot be overlooked inthis text is Hampshire’s referencing to a large wealth of contemporary archivalmaterial to back up this argument, his fascinating analysis alters the way weconsider citizenship.
I Find it extremely potent how he incorporates old casestudies with recent ones to bridge between historical and contemporary debates,overall, this creates a well-rounded argument. In her introduction, Marilyn Friedman (2005) outlines thecomplexity of the term “citizenship”. She states that it is hard topinpoint exactly one definition to the word, as she goes onto stating somewidely used definitions such as, the term citizenship can be a set ofprivileges, rights, and responsibilities; however, it can also be seen as arelationship between an individual and the state, this shows us that politicalterminology is fluid, as one term can mean multiple things. Althoughcitizenship has been explored through many disciplines, there is hardly anyexploration of the relationship between gender and citizenship.
This comes tome as a surprise, as we know that women’s global denial of citizenship has along history and is still ongoing to date. With reference to works ofinfluential scholars such as Young. I. M (1980), Jaguar A. M (2003), Nussbaum.M (2002), and Sandra Bartky (2001), Freidman takes a fresh cope in the way sheaddresses citizenship as she discusses in depth the relevance of culture andpolitics in influencing women’s experience of citizenship.
At the heart of theargument in this text is the conceptual problems and gimmicks which help toinfluence the feminist pursuit to give women an adequate experience ofcitizenship and stop customs and conditions which extenuates women’scitizenship in many parts of the world. One prominent example of women’scitizenship being compromised due to traditions is in Saudi Arabia where womenare deprived of mundane rights such as Driving. We can see clearly that this isoppressive of women’s autonomy and citizenship. The overarching topic in both readings is the politics ofcitizenship, however, both authors take different focal points to theirargument about the experience of citizenship. Hampshire considered thelegalities and policies surrounding immigration while Freidman approaches asshe thinks about citizenship through gender and not as a stand-alone topic. Democracy: In his book, George Monbiot (2017) starts by describing ourpost-modern society, which is characterised by extreme individualism, as “toxic”.Monbiot argues that current political discourses are causing cultural amnesiaas people draw apart more and more every day as a result of feeling they nolonger have a common purpose. Afterhaving carries out a great depth of psychological, sociological and politicalresearch, he believes that the only way to fix the current global disengagementwith politics is to reinvent the political discourse, instead of campaigningharder and using propaganda to gain votes on the current political agendas theyshould alter them, making them more focused on belonging than anything else, heargues that this will engage then entirety of the population.
Monbiot statesthat this will “light a path to a better world” (pp. 87) by creatingwhat he calls “politics of belonging” (pp. 87).
Further, Monbiotsuggests that we are in need of new institution through which people can sculpttheir own collective identities as this will combat the prominent epidemic ofalienation. An example which I think is potent in demonstrating Monbiot’stheory is that of Brexit, our withdrawal from the European Union is creating asense of separation between us and the rest of the world as we no longer”belong” with a community we once played a huge part in. This hascreated a sense of alienation between people as some of the motivations behindBrexit campaigns were aimed at stopping immigration to the UK. Rights: In this text, Mark Frezzo (2014) examines human rightsthrough a sociological lens, to delineate the socio-political circumstancesunder which human rights norms and laws are interpreted and implemented.
Inthis text, Frezzo considers how human rights can either serve to”empower” (pp. 38) certain individuals and communities within societydepending on their social context, for example, the geographical space whichthey live in and the time in history they lived. One strength about this readingis that it doesn’t limit the discourse of extensive debates such as globalismand how that affects rights to current contexts, instead, it gives a broaderoutlook of historical background as well as contemporary explanations ofpolitical and social circumstances under which human rights norms and laws areattained.
Further, the author puts forward the argument that sociology gives usa new perspective on the way we analyse the roots of human rights, for example,defines notions such as “rights effects, rights claims, rights bundles,and rights conditions” in great detail (pp. 4-5) Through a feminist and socio-legal outlook, Jill Marshall(2016) examines how our identities are protected through human rights law,however, she goes on to analyses how human right laws can sometimes include andexclude particular people because of the way they choose to identify. A primeexample of such phenomena is the LGBT+ community, they are sometimes not givenadequate rights and are not recognised as a legitimate part of society in certainparts of the world such as South Asia. This book starts off by tracing back theorigins of identity and demonstrates the change of “the right to personalidentity” (pp.
8) within the human rights structure. Marshall. J (2016)then delves into contemporary as well as historic attempts to show what theessence of personal identity is by drawing on concepts such as rationality toexplain what it means to be a human being. Further, this text analyses thepossibility for universal principles and culturally specific rights tocontradict each other e.
g. Marshallargues that although we live in a post-modern society where individuals”create their own identity” (pp. 143) people still find themselvesfeeling restricted with how they choose to identify because there is a generalaccord of what is considered to be acceptable in every society.
With theinfluence of feminist theory, Marshall concludes by stating that “humanrights laws would be more potent if they were seen as a force to enable freedomand respect amongst people” (pp. 468). The prime difference between the two reading is that Jill’stext takes a vast scope on the way society experiences human rights by drawingon topics such as morality and autonomy, whereas Frezzo explores a more complexpolitical framework to explain how human rights derive from the combination ofeconomic social and political factors.