From the Politics of Citizenship to Citizenship as Politics: On Universal Citizenship, Nation, and the Figure of the Undocumented Immigrant

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/299100
Title:
From the Politics of Citizenship to Citizenship as Politics: On Universal Citizenship, Nation, and the Figure of the Undocumented Immigrant
Author:
Guzmán, Ricardo Andrés
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
The present project draws on recent work in philosophy--primarily that of Alain Badiou--in order to re-conceptualize the concepts of "citizen," "citizenship" and "nation." I aim to recuperate the notion of universal citizenship and reframe the immigration debate in the U.S. by proposing a conception of citizenship that does not rely on identity or state recognition. I define the citizen as a collective subject made up of anyone who in a given juridico-political situation transforms that situation on the basis of an affirmation of equality. I propose that citizenship, to the extent that it transforms the basic organizational coordinates of a situation, is itself on the border of legality/illegality. In chapter one, I theorize universal citizenship as an egalitarian democratic act foundational of a new order and, drawing on Habermas (1995) and Hobsbawm (1992), identify in the French Revolution two articulations of the relationship between citizenship and nation: one that sees nation as pre-existing and determining citizenship, and another that takes citizenship to be constitutive of nation. I argue that these conceptions still underpin competing understandings of politics today, especially with regard to the role of identity in politics. In chapter two, I analyze the confluence between the criminalization of undocumented immigration in the U.S. and neoliberal governmentality. I argue that a politics thought from the perspective of the undocumented immigrant also points to the necessity of affirming a political logic over economic imperatives. I claim that the 2006 immigrant rights protests in the U.S. can be understood as instances of universal citizenship to the extent that they included undocumented people and thus challenged a statist distinction foundational of U.S. political order: the difference between citizen and non-citizen as regulating access to the legal right to act politically. In the last chapter, I read Oscar Zeta Acosta's The Revolt of the Cockroach People as proposing a generic, and thus non-identitarian and universalistic, conception of the political collective in the very category of "cockroach." I highlight the ways in which it resonates with the revolutionary idea of nation identified by Hobsbawm and Habermas.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Immigration; Nation; Oscar "Zeta" Acosta; Politics; Universal Citizenship; Spanish; Badiou
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Spanish
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Acosta, Abraham; Durán, Javier

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleFrom the Politics of Citizenship to Citizenship as Politics: On Universal Citizenship, Nation, and the Figure of the Undocumented Immigranten_US
dc.creatorGuzmán, Ricardo Andrésen_US
dc.contributor.authorGuzmán, Ricardo Andrésen_US
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe present project draws on recent work in philosophy--primarily that of Alain Badiou--in order to re-conceptualize the concepts of "citizen," "citizenship" and "nation." I aim to recuperate the notion of universal citizenship and reframe the immigration debate in the U.S. by proposing a conception of citizenship that does not rely on identity or state recognition. I define the citizen as a collective subject made up of anyone who in a given juridico-political situation transforms that situation on the basis of an affirmation of equality. I propose that citizenship, to the extent that it transforms the basic organizational coordinates of a situation, is itself on the border of legality/illegality. In chapter one, I theorize universal citizenship as an egalitarian democratic act foundational of a new order and, drawing on Habermas (1995) and Hobsbawm (1992), identify in the French Revolution two articulations of the relationship between citizenship and nation: one that sees nation as pre-existing and determining citizenship, and another that takes citizenship to be constitutive of nation. I argue that these conceptions still underpin competing understandings of politics today, especially with regard to the role of identity in politics. In chapter two, I analyze the confluence between the criminalization of undocumented immigration in the U.S. and neoliberal governmentality. I argue that a politics thought from the perspective of the undocumented immigrant also points to the necessity of affirming a political logic over economic imperatives. I claim that the 2006 immigrant rights protests in the U.S. can be understood as instances of universal citizenship to the extent that they included undocumented people and thus challenged a statist distinction foundational of U.S. political order: the difference between citizen and non-citizen as regulating access to the legal right to act politically. In the last chapter, I read Oscar Zeta Acosta's The Revolt of the Cockroach People as proposing a generic, and thus non-identitarian and universalistic, conception of the political collective in the very category of "cockroach." I highlight the ways in which it resonates with the revolutionary idea of nation identified by Hobsbawm and Habermas.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectImmigrationen_US
dc.subjectNationen_US
dc.subjectOscar "Zeta" Acostaen_US
dc.subjectPoliticsen_US
dc.subjectUniversal Citizenshipen_US
dc.subjectSpanishen_US
dc.subjectBadiouen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineSpanishen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorAcosta, Abrahamen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDurán, Javieren_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGutiérrez, Laura G.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGallego, Carlosen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAcosta, Abrahamen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDurán, Javieren_US
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