Printer Friendly Version Of 2010 Annual Meeting Program Theme

Toward a Sociology of Citizenship:
Inclusion, Participation, and Rights

105th ASA Annual Meeting
August 14-17, 2010
Hilton Atlanta and Marriott Marquis Hotel
Atlanta, Georgia



  • About Atlanta
  • Sessions
  • Tours
  • Dining Guide


At its most general level, citizenship refers to full membership in a community in which one lives, works or was born. From a sociological perspective, a central question is, what are the practices and processes by which individuals or groups are defined as competent members of a community? And in the other direction, what are the practices that individuals and groups adopt in order to establish claims to membership in a community?

Carefully analyzing such social practices and processes can help us overcome two tendencies that limit our understanding of citizenship:

(1) Viewing citizenship as a static bundle of rights, and
(2) Viewing the ambit of citizenship as limited to the nation state. Instead, we view citizenship as a fluid and contested domain, operating in multiple overlapping communities, within and across nation states.

The theme of the 2010 ASA meetings is intended to stimulate development of sociological approaches to a comparative transnational study of citizenship. The theme can be explored from the perspective of many areas of specialization in sociology, including family, immigration, labor, collective movements, criminology, political sociology, and religion, by asking, for example:

  • How is citizenship distinct among various sociological forms of membership, and how does a formal institutionalization of rights interact with informal structures of participation, claims-making, and feelings of belonging? How are social institutions (e.g., family, labor market, religion), in addition to the state, implicated in defining the boundaries of citizenship and in recognizing (or rejecting) rights?
  • How are status categories (e.g., gender, age, race) and affiliations (e.g., religion, language, culture) used to define different levels or degrees of citizenship?
  • How have major demographic, economic, technological, and social trends (e.g., transnational migration, ethnic and racial diversity, and conflict within nation states, reliance of some third-world economies on remittances from emigrants, use of the internet for information and maintenance of social ties) changed the meaning or relevance of citizenship?
  • How has the growth of supra-national entities (e.g., international human rights regimes, global banking and financial systems, and multi-national corporations) affected the role or significance of citizenship in sub-national, national, and supranational communities?

Evelyn Nakano Glenn
University of California-Berkeley