For some time now, American citizenship has been a subject of intense debate. Scholars have moved beyond a tight focus on citizenship as a set of legal rights-either you have it or you don't-to an unavoidable consideration of membership that includes a variety of subjects, who include noncitizens. There are citizens (native and naturalized), and then there are green-card holders and legal refugees, who it is assumed will eventually apply for naturalization. Then there is a growing category of temporary visa holders-the skilled workers on H-IB visas, the overseas students, and the contract labor migrants. Finally, there are the illegal residents, those foreigners without papers who nevertheless live and work as part of society. Culture wars since the 1970s have broadened discussions beyond citizenship to membership of a variety of legal, partially legal and illegal residents. Great waves of migrations from Latin America and Asia, the circulations of business travelers and students, and the ever growing number of individuals with dual citizenship all add to a society of astonishing flux and diversity.
This chapter considers the symbolic and social meanings of American citizenship, and how it has been affected by forces of globalization, from increased immigration to transnational corporate connections. Recent debates show that the substance-the marrow, the soul, and the ethics-of American citizenship is in a prolonged crisis. As the idea of adherence to a single cultural nation wanes, there is a steady "desacralization" of state membership (Brubaker 1989:4-5). Concomitantly, the demands for cultural acceptance, along with affirmative action mechanisms to increase demographic diversity in major institutions and areas of public life, has shifted discussions of citizenship from a focus on political practice based on shared civic rights and responsibilities to an insistence on the protection of cultural difference as new waves of immigrants have become more assertive about the hegemony of majority white culture.
For instance, in California, activist Chicano scholar-advocates such as Renato Rosaldo defined cultural citizenship as "the right to be different" (in terms of race, ethnicity, or native language) with respect to the norms of the