BEING A CITIZEN IS CENTRAL to an individual's status and identity in the contemporary world. However, citizenship denotes membership not in some putative global society but in a specific nation-state. This is not surprising, since the nation-state is still the main site for political legitimacy and discourse. Indeed, one can argue that the nation-state has grown considerably in salience since 1945, as more and more countries have adopted the legal and institutional frameworks of the nation-state and defined themselves—rightly or wrongly—as democracies. The breakup of European colonial empires and the collapse of multiethnic states like the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia have led to a proliferation of nation-states, from about 80 in 1950 to 191 UN member states in 2002. The notion of a world of nation-states remains the basis for national and international law.
Citizenship in its modern form goes back to the American and French Revolutions of the late 18th century, which replaced the hereditary king with the sovereign will of the people, constituted as active citizens. The precondition for this change was the somewhat older notion of the sovereignty and autonomy of the modern state, as enshrined in the 1648 Peace of Westphalia. The rise of industrial capitalism was the context for the evolution of citizenship to a system of civil, political, and social rights, which could only work effectively if it included all members of a society. Key aspects of this model are economic and social inclusion of all—irrespective of social