Bernd Reiter is Associate Professor of Comparative
Politics at the University of South Florida and has
worked as a social worker and NGO consultant in
Colombia and Brazil.
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Dialectics of Citizenship, The
Exploring Privilege, Exclusion, and Racialization
What does it mean to be a citizen? What impact does an active
democracy have on its citizenry and why does it fail or succeed in
fulfilling its promises? Most modern democracies seem unable to
deliver the goods that citizens expect; many politicians seem to
have given up on representing the wants and needs of those who
elected them and are keener on representing themselves and their
financial backers. What will it take to bring democracy back to its
original promise of rule by the people? Bernd Reiter’s timely
analysis reaches back to ancient Greece and the Roman Republic in
search of answers. It examines the European medieval city republics,
revolutionary France, and contemporary Brazil, Portugal, and
Colombia. Through an innovative exploration of country cases, this
study demonstrates that those who stand to lose something from true
democracy tend to oppose it, making the genealogy of citizenship
concurrent with that of exclusion. More often than not, exclusion
leads to racialization, stigmatizing the excluded to justify their
non-membership. Each case allows for different insights into the
process of how citizenship is upheld and challenged. Together, the
cases reveal how exclusive rights are constituted by contrasting
members to non-members who in that very process become racialized
others. The book provides an opportunity to understand the dynamics
that weaken democracy so that they can be successfully addressed and
overcome in the future.
“Reiter explores with a rare accuracy, historical privileges and
exclusion in order to unveil and illuminate the mechanism of
contemporary racialization. An essential contribution which makes
comprehensible, the complex mechanisms producing as well as
perpetuating discrimination and unequal treatment among
—Patrick Lozès, co-founder and former president of Le Cran (Council
Representing the Associations of the Black People of France),
recently ran for the French presidency.
Available May 2013.
Notes, References, Index.World rights
200 pp., 6.00" x 9.00", May 2013