4. Citizenship

  1. Donald M. Nonini
  1. Sian Lazar

Published Online: 21 MAR 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118378625.ch4

A Companion to Urban Anthropology

A Companion to Urban Anthropology

How to Cite

Lazar, S. (2014) Citizenship, in A Companion to Urban Anthropology (ed D. M. Nonini), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118378625.ch4

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 21 MAR 2014
  2. Published Print: 6 MAY 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444330106

Online ISBN: 9781118378625



  • citizenship;
  • right to the city;
  • political action;
  • participation;
  • immigration;
  • government;
  • urban space;
  • social reproduction;
  • crime;
  • protest


From its inception as a concept denoting collective political life, citizenship has been intimately linked with the urban. Beginning with the Athenian city-state, citizenship was constituted through political practice, and political practice was constituted through speech and deliberation in urban spaces. I argue that citizenship refers to membership of a political community, but that the nature of the political community as automatically national should be questioned. The city is a key location for the practices of citizenship today, whether viewed as the stage for national citizenship or as a political community in its own right. In this essay, I explore understandings of urban political action today, aspects of citizenship practice that are predominantly but not exclusively urban, and citizenship action that takes the city as its object. Finally, I examine the city as a key site of contemporary radical citizenship action constituted by political resistance to domination.