Hobbes on the making and unmaking of citizens
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This article examines Thomas Hobbes’s views on legal citizenship in view of sovereign prerogative powers and the conditions of rule by law. It is argued that the authority of Hobbesian sovereigns includes the right to decide whether individuals be admitted as subjects of the state, or treated as public enemies. While Hobbes’s specific understanding of the legal status of citizens seems to be inapplicable today, it is suggested that he provides us with a broader perspective on the making and unmaking of citizens, which could be used to evaluate attempts to deprive terrorists or insurgents of their citizen rights. In Hobbes’s view, the sovereign does not only have a right to formally admit or exclude individuals, but also a duty to constitute them as citizens through civic education. Hence, it is ultimately the government’s responsibility if citizens turn into enemies of the state.
Jaede , M 2016 , ' Hobbes on the making and unmaking of citizens ' Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy , vol. 19 , no. 1 , pp. 86-102 . DOI: 10.1080/13698230.2015.1122356
Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy
© 2015 Taylor & Francis. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13698230.2015.1122356
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