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States Without Nations: Citizenship for Mortals (New Directions in Critical Theory) 0th Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231148764
ISBN-10: 0231148763
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Comment: This book has a clean hardback cover and dust jacket with minor shelf-wear on edges and corners. Binding is tight and square. Interior pages are clean and free from highlighting, pencil underlining, notes, or stains. Columbia University Press, 2010, 364 pp. Book is in stock and ready to ship same or next business day. Thank you for buying from Wado Books!
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Editorial Reviews


Imagining governments and citizenship unbeholden to rules of birth-that is, cleaving the state from the family (i.e. the nation)-is the single most important thought experiment in political theory since John Rawls asked us to consider justice from a position of veiled ignorance. Jacqueline Stevens is not just a punchy provacateur, she is a careful scholar and an engaging writer. States without Nations is a must read for any scholar of the politics, sociology, or legal studies of the state-and anyone concerned with distributive justice.

(Dalton Conley, Dean for the Social Sciences, New York University)

No myth needs exploding more urgently than that of the tight association of state with nation, of the exigencies of governance with the idea of people defined by culture and common descent. No misconception has done more damage in modern political theory. And no theorist is better positioned to explode this myth-in its birthright, where it lives, in its premises of blood and land and birth-than Jacqueline Stevens.

(Jeremy Waldron, University Professor, New York University School of Law)

States Without Nations is a brutal exposé of the violent and mutually implicating underpinnings of liberal theory and national identity, and it constitutes nothing less than an early attempt to reconceptualize and reorganize world citizenship anew. I find it brilliant, bold, breathtaking, pioneering, far-reaching, and visionary. There's nothing else quite like it.

(John Evan Seery, professor of politics, Pomona College)

States without Nations is a scathing indictment of kinship-based membership. In an argument as unrelenting as it is brilliant, Jacqueline Stevens challenges feminists, liberals, and, indeed, anyone who values peace and security, to join her in recognizing and rejecting kinship as the ultimate source of violence. This original and much-needed intervention will reshape debates in international relations, political science, and women's studies.

(Jodi Dean, author of Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies)

Stevens is provocative in rethinking many assumptions people take for granted.... Highly recommended.


The breadth and creativity of [Stevens's] arguments are refreshing.... A welcome addition to the citizenship literature.

(Elizabeth F. Cohen Perspectives on Politics)

While the book's learned and wide-ranging arguments do not always convince, they invariably inform and provoke, startle and rouse; States without Nations is a stunning work of radical theoretical imagination.

(Jason Frank Theory and Event)

Book Description

A new theory of nation and identity.

--This text refers to the Digital edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions in Critical Theory
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (November 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231148763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231148764
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,160,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Why do folks go so far as to give their lives for their country? This book does a marvelous job of explaining the mysteriously tenacious pull nationality has on us. Stevens convincingly argues that it is fear of mortality that--ala Durkheim--makes us invested in the nation as a group to continue our existence after we are gone. Once we confront the irrationality of this impulse, she then goes on to offer a cogent alternative to the current colinearity of nation and state. Her proposal leads to an entirely different political structure that is worth contemplating at the very least for what light it sheds on our current tacit assumptions regarding citizenship, rights and political rules of membership and governance.
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Format: Paperback
'Why not keep boundaries of current countries, but open the borders?' asks author Stevens. Unfortunately, the answer is blazingly obvious -'No!' The U.S. is already suffering from an invasion from Mexico and Central America - millions with not only low skills taking jobs away from lesser-skilled Americans through their willingness to work for less, but value sets that undermine this nation in the long-run as well. We cannot benefit from millions who are far more likely to drop out of school, raise large families - often absent marriage and formal family attachments, and are satisfied with/populate America with third-world living conditions. And then there's their considerably higher crime rates - about 40%. The U.S. has enough problems already without substantially adding to them - many were caused by the mass immigration Ms. Stevens supports!

Important 'side benefits' she also neglects - greatly increased conflict between the various nationalities involved, quite obvious within the U.S. now. This is why Asian nations are anti-easy immigration. I recall somewhere another point of view - that different values/nationalities living amongst each other have always caused conflict and resentment. Where is Ms. Stevens' evidence on the history of such? Absent that, she has no credibility whatsoever making her assertions.

Then, proposing to make the situation even far worse, Stevens would even do without state-sanctioned marriage, family inheritance, and private land ownership!

The U.S. needs dramatic political and economic change - not suicide! This is without a doubt the most poorly thought out book I've read in years, made all the worse by its cumbersome writing style!
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