Citizenship in Britain: A History

Citizenship in Britain: A History

Citizenship in Britain: A History

Citizenship in Britain: A History


An historical introduction to the varieties of citizenship in Britain, starting in the Middle Ages and bringing the story right up to the present day.Both the status and understanding of citizenship in practice and the theoretical and advisory writings on the subject are introduced, and their inter-relationships are explored. Among the key themes to be examined are:• local and national strata• the issue of parliamentary suffrage• women excluded and included as citizens• the influence of classical ideas• nationhood and imperialism• the role of political and social theorists• interpretations by modern political parties• the role of education• environmental citizenship• multiculturalism• globalisation• human rightsOrganised chronologically, each chapter is divided into sections in order to present the reader with different themes in a manageable form. The focus throughout is on accessibility, with no previous knowledge of the subject being assumed.Key Features• Unique in its historical coverage of citizenship in Britain - moving from the Middle Ages to the present day• Reveals the great complexity of the development of citizenship in Britain• Leading campaigners, politicians and theorists enliven the story and analysis• Demonstrates the importance of an historical perspective in understanding the issue of citizenship in Britain today


In my study I have on display a treasured old cartoon. It portrays a middleaged man staring disconsolately at his typewriter. His wife stands behind him enquiring, ‘What do you mean you have plagiarist’s block?’ I have written books on the subject of citizenship before, so, for fear of committing self-plagiarism, this will be the last. And, because, very sadly, my wife is no longer available to ask her gently penetrating questions, I offer this volume in her memory.

A word or two about the content and its organisation. the sequence of the chapters is roughly chronological, but the sections within them are based upon themes. This sectional organisation seemed to be more useful and interesting than an entirely sequential structure. Strict adherence to chronology would also have required a narrative coverage, whereas I wished to have the freedom to omit or slide over some potentially relevant material for the sake of concision and the overall shape of the book. After all, this is a short history; hence too the limited list of references.

I have gained much knowledge, understanding and pleasure from my work on citizenship over the past quarter of a century, and I am grateful for the easy collaboration with and help from Edinburgh University Press during the past few years.

Derek Heater Rottingdean, 2005

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