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Citizenship Reimagined: A New Framework for State Rights in the United States, Allan Colbern and S. Karthick Ramakrishnan

Reviewed by Els De Graauw

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In the U.S. federal system, pundits and scholars alike often look to the federal government to provide citizenship rights. Inviting us to rethink conventional theory and practice, Citizenship Reimagined: A New Framework for State Rights in the United States underscores the key role of states in restricting or expanding rights, including those for Blacks, women, and immigrants. Bridging scholarship on citizenship and federalism, Allan Colbern and S. Karthick Ramakrishnan apply a historical-institutionalist approach to trace how—throughout U.S. history—courts, state and federal legislative and executive officials, political parties, and social movements have interacted within the context of federalism to shape the way states have governed rights, with in-depth analyses of state citizenship rights for Blacks and immigrants.

One of the book's key contributions is its development (in Chapter 2) of a precise rights-based conceptual framework for multidimensional and two-jurisdictional citizenship. Drawing on insights from the comparative politics literature, Colbern and Ramakrishnan reframe citizenship as “the provision of rights by a political jurisdiction to its members” (p. 35) along five dimensions (free movement, due process and legal protection, human capital development, participation and representation, identification and

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