The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen

Atossa Araxia Abrahamian. Columbia Univ./Columbia Global Reports, $12.99 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-0-9909763-6-3
The role of citizenship and statehood in the average person’s life is often taken for granted. Abrahamian, opinions editor at Al Jazeera America, challenges such complacency in a sharp, insightful exposé of the world of the stateless. She contrasts those who hold multiple passports by virtue of economic privilege, as citizenship becomes a luxury good and a hedge against political instability, with people who have no citizenship, such as the Bidoon, who live in Gulf Arab states, notably Kuwait. Abrahamian demonstrates the intersection of these two groups by examining a peculiar concept—citizenship for sale—and how it may benefit both the ultrawealthy and the countries trying to figure out what to do with their stateless populations. For example, the Comoros, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, has offered to sell citizenship to Gulf Arab states to allow their Bidoon residents to emigrate abroad. Abrahamian draws from economic and political theory for a fascinating, eminently readable exploration of contemporary citizenship and concepts of statehood. Readers will be deeply intrigued by the connections she draws and the implications of the modern movement away from statehood and nationalism, and eager to learn more when this quick read is over. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/14/2015
Release date: 11/01/2015
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