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Title: Citizenship, reproduction and the state: International marriage and human rights
Authors: Turner, B.S. 
Keywords: Citizenship
Reproductive rights
Issue Date: Feb-2008
Citation: Turner, B.S. (2008-02). Citizenship, reproduction and the state: International marriage and human rights. Citizenship Studies 12 (1) : 45-54. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The relationship between citizenship, marriage and family has often been overlooked in the social and political theory of citizenship. Intimate domestic life is associated with the private sphere, partly because reproduction itself is thought to depend on the private choices of individuals. While feminist theory has challenged this division between private and public - 'the personal is political' - the absence of any systematic thinking about familial relations, reproduction and citizenship is puzzling. Citizenship is a juridical status that confers political rights such as the right to carry a passport or to vote in elections. However, from a sociological point of view, we need to understand the social foundations and consequences of citizenship - however narrowly defined in legal and political terms. This article starts by noting the obvious point that the majority of us inherit citizenship at birth and in a sense we do not choose to be 'Vietnamese' or 'Malaysian' or 'Japanese' citizens. Although naturalisation is an important aspect of international migration and settlement, the majority of us are, as it were, born into citizenship. Therefore, the family is an important but often implicit facet of political identity and membership. In sociological language, citizenship looks like an ascribed rather than achieved status, and as a result becomes confused and infused with ethnicity. This inheritance of citizenship is odd given the fact that, at least in the West, there is a presumption, following the pronouncements of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, to think of citizenship in universal terms that are ethnically 'blind', but it is in fact closely connected with familial or private status. These complex relations within the nation-state are further complicated by the contemporary growth of transnational marriages and this article considers the problems of marriage, reproduction and citizenship in the context of global patterns of migration.
Source Title: Citizenship Studies
ISSN: 13621025
DOI: 10.1080/13621020701794166
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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