Week 3: The Birthright Lottery

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Week 3: The Birthright Lottery

Post by Yael on Tue Mar 27, 2018 11:41 am

Dear Students,

Preparing for this week's session please focus on the question bellow:

What are the problems that the author finds in how citizenship is currently granted in most countries?  


Do remember to answer this question in your post as well as reply briefly to one of the answers by your peers, using the "quote" option.

I look forward to our discussion of this provocative text!

Sincerely,
Yael

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Re: Week 3: The Birthright Lottery

Post by Music on Sun Apr 08, 2018 12:35 pm

In her essay, Ayelet Shachar describes the puzzle of citizenship today. Post Cold War, and 9/11 years, large numbers of people began penetrating the borders of far and near countries seeking a new life away from the disasters that hit their home countries. Prosperous countries have and are shutting their golden doors of freedom tight, in the words of Shachar.

This essay discusses the treatment of the stowaways, immigrants, or refugees by the host countries; with a particular focus on citizenship rights and the frame around it.
Identity was a major concern to the immigrants. Authority was a major concern to the hosts. Basic human rights became dreams; membership was bestowed in an outdated feudal manner.

Shachar sheds light on the “archaic mechanism of conferring citizenship by virtue of birthright”, and the revolving problems around it. She visits the legal and political subject of institutional birthright citizenship. How have citizenship policies allowed the well-off to accumulate more wealth and power in the recent years?

Shachar notes that “birthright citizenship [... ] moves down the generations like an entail form of untaxed inherited property”. Entitlement is as valuable as is a property; to an extent where it has its own market. The trade and transfer of this title is evidently unequal from a certain person to a certain other. The writer highlights the urgency of exploring entitlement as a means to global justice and equality.

Birthright is like lottery; the winners face difficulty in imagining the disadvantaged losers - poorer countries in most cases. Shachar “[calls ] attention to the crucial role played by existing legal regimes for allocating entitlement to political membership (according to birthright) in restricting access to well of polities and sustaining the privilege of inherited entitlement. To put it in a Marxist sense: the rich get richer; the poor get poorer. That is where those systemic and structural patterns are directed.

Shachar draws upon democratic theory and property jurisprudence to invograte her outcry for equality. She destabilises the notion of the ‘natural’ reliance upon the accident of birth and deems it a deception. Also, she unpacks the foundations that citizenship is built upon; pointing at the misdistribution of resources that is related to origin, and birthplace. “The harsh facts on the ground are such that most people alive today, especially the huddles masses yearning to breathe free, remain largely ‘trapped’ by the lottery of their birth”, Says Shachar.

"Who owns what? and on what basis?" asks Shachar. The rubric of property and inheritance is wrongful and it causes dehumanisation, despotism, and global inequality. Birthright citizenship does not merely define the formal boundaries of membership. Towards the end of the essay, She sets the picture in scope and scale. Firstly by stressing the true grandiosity of citizenship distribution and how it affects all human beings. Secondly, by emphasising the consequences of the membership-transfer system and how it is infecting democracy - as well as freedom. Thirdly, by proving that this system exists on incoherent explanations that misrepresents persons and misallocate opportunity.

Finally, Shachar, eloquently, at full volume, expresses the urgency in addressing this ’lacuna’ as she describes it, which she triumphs in dissecting.

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Re: Week 3: The Birthright Lottery

Post by TA on Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:56 pm

I think that the main issue that Ayelet Shachar is pointing out is the problematic case of entitlement citizenship as a birthright. She compares this to inherited property regimes like feudalism and basically says that it creates inequality in a global scale. Obviously a person who was born in a poor country (or village) in Africa won't have the same education, conditions and opportunities like a person who was lucky to be born in Europe. As she puts it: "most people alive today... remain 'trapped' by the lottery of their birth". (page 4, bottom).

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Re: Week 3: The Birthright Lottery

Post by last second 3pointer on Sun Apr 08, 2018 10:55 pm

In this essay, Ayelet Shachar discusses the system of "citizenship" and how it is unjust. Though I agree her and I think that she is completely right about her claims, I have to state that I do not believe a fixation about citizenship is possible. That is because of some questions which she also asks, such as: Who owns a land? What is a country? Can someone or some system own a land? etc. I believe that it is certain now that the citizenship system exists because countries have different classes, and without a complete destruction towards this approach, there will always be someone who will separate one from another. Today with the globalisation, there is no "one race" or "one country" but there is "one world". Tomorrow, maybe millions of years later, hopefully there won't be "one world" but "one galaxy". We do not need to change how we can adapt to citizenship. I believe that this wouldn't even be a temporary solution. We must change 195 to 1. We must always adapt to what our technology can provide. With the globalisation, now it provides "one world".

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Reply to Last Second 3Pointer

Post by Yael on Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:21 pm

[quote="last second 3pointer"]In this essay, Ayelet Shachar discusses the system of "citizenship" and how it is unjust. Though I agree her and I think that she is completely right about her claims, I have to state that I do not believe a fixation about citizenship is possible. That is because of some questions which she also asks, such as: Who owns a land? What is a country? Can someone or some system own a land? etc. I believe that it is certain now that the citizenship system exists because countries have different classes, and without a complete destruction towards this approach, there will always be someone who will separate one from another. Today with the globalisation, there is no "one race" or "one country" but there is "one world". Tomorrow, maybe millions of years later, hopefully there won't be "one world" but "one galaxy".

Good point. Shachar is distancing herself from visions of global citizenship. In a way, her theory therefore perpetuates the importance of local national belonging. This should be a part of our discussion today.

Yael Almog

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Re: Week 3: The Birthright Lottery

Post by 7ajje94 on Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:08 pm

I just want to point out my experience that the rights of Syrians are the same as the Germans who are hosting them and giving them great opportunities to learn and live..so I think there are also positive aspects nowadays..

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