Part I: Setting the Scene

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The book explores tensions in the relationship between citizenship and constitutions. It starts from the proposition that the citizen is a central figure in most if not all constitutional set-ups at the state level, and then highlights the paradox that in many constitutions matters of citizenship are not regulated in detail. The idea of the ‘constitutional citizen’ is developed and explored in Part Two, across chapters looking at the ideal of citizenship, modes of acquisition and loss of citizenship, and citizenship rights. Two themes emerge in those central chapters: the potential role of superordinate constitutional principles such as equality and dignity in filling out the concept of constitutional citizenship and the question as to how states should determine the boundaries of citizenship. Should it be via the constitution as interpreted by courts, or via the legislature as representing the people? Part Three of the book explores some of the challenges which the idea of constitutional citizenship faces today. It looks at the effects of the rise of populist politics in many countries, including the acceleration in some countries of constitutional amendments to mirror an exclusivist concept of the people. Then it turns to the fragmentation of the governance of citizenship. Here we see a turn away from an exclusive focus on the state and an increased impact of international institutions on citizenship. An exploration of the paradox of the simultaneous rise of populism and globalisation forms the centrepiece of the book’s conclusions.

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The People in Question
Citizens and Constitutions in Uncertain Times
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