Apr 16, 2009

the container for the thing contained

Whereas nation states have always distinguished themselves from others by means of a thick exterior boundary on the perimeter of a territorial 'container,' they have also maintained the illusion of an interor without borders, a national space kept open by the political public sphere where differences are subordinated by the constitutional state. With the rise of the contractualization of citizenship, an interior border now duplicates that of the exterior. Only those who have borne the burden of internal social exclusion for centuries--first from slavery, then through racial apartheid--are immune from the compensatory allure of the nation.
margaret somers, genealogies of citizenship
this makes me think of hugh of st. victor, quoted by edward said:
the man who finds his homeland sweet is still a tender beginner; he to whom every soil is as his native one is already strong; but he is perfect to whom the entire world is as a foreign land.

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