Disenchanting Citizenship: Mexican Migrants and the Boundaries of Belonging

By Luis F. B. Plascencia | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
The Janus Face of
Citizenship
THE SIDE OF EXCLUSION

Discussions of juridical citizenship tend to examine inclusionary or exclusionary dimensions of citizenship without taking into account its dual nature.1 A noteworthy exception to this is James Holston’s (2008) detailed examination of the entanglement of citizenship, inequality, and democracy in Brazil, though his focus is not on the simultaneous factors examined here.2 The processes of inclusion and exclusion are central to fostering the high valuation of, and privileging associated with, U.S. citizenship. Those who can claim U.S. citizenship can assert their privileged position; those who perceive that they lack the full measures of citizenship (i.e., “secondclass citizens”) can demand absent privileges; and those who are not included/represented desire inclusion/representation.3

Work is central to capitalist economies, both in terms of determining an individual’s ability to survive economically and in shaping social identifications (e.g., day laborer, police officer, stay-at-home mom, first responder, soldier, or professor). Work-related activities not only relate to class and status hierarchies in the society (Marx [1843] 1972; Weber 1927) and the division of labor (Durkheim [1893] 1964); they also intersect with gender constructions. As perceptively articulated by Judith Shklar (1991, 63–101), earning—the ability to work, be paid an earned reward, and be perceived as an economic contributor—are critical qualities to the social standing dimension of citizenship. Membership in the circle of citizens and

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