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Citizens without Nations
Urban Citizenship in Europe and the World, c.1000–1789

$30.99 (P)

  • Date Published: September 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107504158

$ 30.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Citizenship is at the heart of our contemporary world but it is a particular vision of national citizenship forged in the French Revolution. In Citizens without Nations, Maarten Prak recovers the much longer tradition of urban citizenship across the medieval and early modern world. Ranging from Europe and the American colonies to China and the Middle East, he reveals how the role of 'ordinary people' in urban politics has been systematically underestimated and how civic institutions such as neighbourhood associations, craft guilds, confraternities and civic militias helped shape local and state politics. By destroying this local form of citizenship, the French Revolution initially made Europe less, rather than more democratic. Understanding citizenship's longer-term history allows us to change the way we conceive of its future, rethink what it is that makes some societies more successful than others, and whether there are fundamental differences between European and non-European societies.

    • Broadens the widely studied development and role of citizenship in Europe to give these topics a global perspective that covers Europe, China, the Middle East and America
    • The book will appeal to scholars of the humanities and social sciences with an interest in citizenship, and is also accessible to a wider audience who cares about how to achieve sustainable social development
    • The period covered, from the late Middle Ages to the French Revolution, is much wider than most histories on similar topics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ‘A profoundly original book. Prak shows how much of what historians and social scientists think they know about citizenship and the rise of democratic politics is simply wrong. Uncovering the errors that have blinded so many, he proceeds to construct a historically grounded foundation for a new understanding of the meaning of citizenship that instructs us about the past and the present.' Jan de Vries, University of California, Berkeley

    ‘This is a major contribution to emancipating citizenship from the nation. Tracing varieties of citizenship before its invention as nationality, Prak makes a compelling case for understanding citizenship as a practical activity without binary oppositions: European versus non-European, urban versus rural, or national versus international. The result is a riveting narrative, forcefully inviting us to think differently and historically about citizenship.' Engin Isin, Queen Mary University of London

    ‘This is a large, richly researched, provocative study which repositions the pre-modern city, its citizens and agencies, at the centre of the European political stage. It is a brilliant exemplar of the New Urban History, setting European developments in a broad global perspective.' Peter Clark, University of Helsinki

    ‘In this wide ranging and bold book, Maarten Prak offers a penetrating analysis of urban citizenship in pre-modern Europe. He both revises a Weberian narrative about the distinctiveness of western European civic institutions in comparison to those in Asia and the Americas and undoes assumptions about the superiority of national citizenship post-1789.' Martha Howell, Columbia University, New York

    ‘The book is based on a lifetime of research in urban history, and the material is presented with clarity, concision, and enormous authority.’ Christopher R. Friedrichs, The American Historical Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107504158
    • length: 442 pages
    • dimensions: 223 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.72kg
    • contains: 3 b/w illus. 8 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: worlds of citizenship
    Part I. Dimensions of Citizenship in European Towns:
    1. Formal citizenship
    2. Urban governance: citizens and their authorities
    3. Economic citizenship through the guilds
    4. Welfare and the civic community
    5. Citizens, soldiers, and civic militias
    Part II. Cities and States, Or: The Varieties of European Citizenship: Introduction to Part II
    6. Italian city-states and their citizens
    7. The Dutch Republic: the federalisation of citizenship
    8. Citizenship in England: from the Reformation to the Glorious Revolution
    9. Cities and states in Continental Europe
    Part III. Citizenship Outside Europe: Introduction to Part III
    10. Original citizenship in China and the Middle East
    11. Recreating European citizenship in the Americas
    Conclusions: citizenship before and beyond the French Revolution.

  • Author

    Maarten Prak, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands
    Maarten Prak is Professor of Social and Economic History at the Department of History and Art History, Universiteit Utrecht, The Netherlands. He is on the Board of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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