City-zenship and National Citizenship: Complementary and Competing but not Emancipated from Each Other

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


A majority of the world population lives in cities, but determining citizenship remains a monopoly of nation-states. Should cities claim their own citizenship, based on residence rather than nationality? Should they get enhanced powers and bypass states when addressing challenges of migration or climate change? Or would urban citizenship deepen the political divide between metropolitan and rural populations that disintegrates liberal democracies today? These questions are raised in Rainer Bauböck’s kickoff for a GLOBALCIT Forum that was also published on Verfassungsblog. This chapter is one of 22 responses to these questions and reflect on the prospects for urban and local citizenship. A link to the full debate:

The main argument is that the relationship between urban and national citizenship should not be seen as mutually exclusive; claims for enhancing city-zenship and decentralising state power are warranted only insofar as they provide forward-thinking urban response to the decline in democratic participation and civic solidarity at national levels. While these claims highlight the tensions between cities and states, they do not obviate the role of the state as the polity that safeguards the autonomy of city-dwellers and enables them to act individually and collectively towards shaping the city’s public sphere and its conception of the good.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCities vs states : should urban citizenship be emancipated from nationality?
EditorsRainer Bauböck, Liav Orgad
PublisherEUI RSCAS, Global Governance Programme-386, [Global Citizenship], GLOBALCIT, [Global Citizenship Governance]
StatePublished - 2020


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