Citizenship Rights and Social Movements: A Comparative and Statistical Analysis

By Joe Foweraker; Todd Landman | Go to book overview

2
Individual Rights, Social Movements, and Waves of Protest

Universal Rights and Particular Restrictions

Citizenship as a universal status implies that all citizens must be the same and equally capable of knowing and acting on the common good. The history of citizenship shows that this principle of commonality has also served as a principle of exclusion ( Young 1989), and the 'Western' variant of this history can be described as a gradual extension of civil and political rights from 'white property-owning Protestant men . . . to women, the working class, Jews and Catholics, blacks, and other previously excluded groups' ( Kymlicka and Norman 1994: 354). In short, alongside the expansion of the rights of citizenship there was also an expansion of the class of citizens, as new categories of persons came to qualify for citizenship ( Barbalet 1988: 29). Consequently, the advance of citizenship in terms of the rights enjoyed by the population of any political community can clearly be measured along two axes: first it can be measured in depth, to see what civil and political rights have been legally and constitutionally encoded; and second it can be measured in breadth, to gauge the extension of these rights to the different groups, sectors, classes, and regions of the community. It will be clear that either or both axes may contribute to create the gap between rights-in-principle and rights-in-practice (see Chapter 1).

In Latin America and Spain many groups were traditionally excluded from the rights of citizenship. The extremes of social inequality tended to deny these rights to the poor and deprived. The sharp division between city and countryside tended to do the same to country-dwellers, 'since they have almost always faced indifference, if not prejudice, from a now predominantly urban society which has historically treated rural workers as non-citizens' ( Navarro 1994: 150). And greater or lesser degrees of institutionalized racism

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