Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

7/1/2006 - 6/30/2007

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

The Making of Modern Citizenship Rights, England, 1200-1850

FAIN: FA-52618-06

Margaret R. Somers
Regents of the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)

My project explores the making of English citizenship. I trace its roots to the late-medieval legal revolutions and the local legal cultures to which they gave rise. I use narrative relational analysis to compare four such cultures. Only one combination of legal participation, family relationships, and type of public sphere nurtured the "narrative justice" associated with the rights of "Freeborn Englishmen" qua citizens. Historicizing England’s "Rule of Law" in its local workings provides an ideal terrain for a theory of citizenship formation--a project of compelling urgency in our post-communist era with its more stumbling than stellar efforts to achieve the full freedoms of democratic citizenship.

Media Coverage

Date: 8/6/2016

Associated Products

Genealogies of Citizenship: Markets, Statelessness, and the Right to Have Rights (Book)
Title: Genealogies of Citizenship: Markets, Statelessness, and the Right to Have Rights
Author: Margaret R. Somers
Abstract: As market fundamentalism has moved from the margins of debate to global doctrine, three decades of market-driven governance is transforming growing numbers of rights-bearing citizens into socially excluded internally stateless persons. Against this perilous movement to organize society exclusively by market principles, Margaret Somers argues that the fragile project of sustaining socially inclusive democratic rights requires the countervailing powers of a social state, a robust public sphere to hold it accountable, and a relationally sturdy civil society. In this original and path breaking work, from historical epistemologies of social capital and naturalism, to contested narratives of civil society and the public sphere, to Hurricane Katrina’s racial apartheid, Somers alerts us that the growing moral authority of the market is distorting the meaning of citizenship from noncontractual shared fate to conditional privilege, making rights, inclusion and moral worth dependent on contractual market value. Genealogies of Citizenship advances an innovative view of rights as necessary public goods rooted in an alliance of public power, political membership and social practices of equal moral recognition – in short, the right to have rights. A remarkable rethinking of freedom, human rights and social justice, this is social theory and political, economic and cultural sociology at its best.
Year: 2008
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Type: Single author monograph
Copy sent to NEH?: No