Subjects and Citizens

in Critical Survey
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In the last few months Britain has lived through several moments when the idea of being a citizen has been at the forefront of people’s minds. In the space of twenty-four hours in July 2005 we experienced the jubilation of winning the right to host the 2012 London Olympics and felt the horror and shock caused by the terrorist attacks on the London transport network. Both events showed in stark contrast what being a citizen means for a nation in the twenty-first century: the inevitable coming together of a people to celebrate national success turned to bewilderment as Britons struggled to understand how fellow citizens could inflict such destruction on their own country. Questioning citizenship is now a daily occurrence in the national press as tabloids call for loyalty tests, immigrants to be repatriated, and tougher laws for extremists. The following six articles, written before the aforementioned events, tackle some of the very same issues that now trouble us. They address themes such as identity, nationality, confinement, attacks on liberty, citizenship, and being the subject of oppression. Analysing at a fundamental level the nature of being a subject or citizen, these papers challenge notions of dominant ideology and highlight the importance of self in the construction of identity and a harmonious citizenry.


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