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A Brief History of Citizenship

Derek Heater

Hardback i (Printed to Order)

An introductory survey of the history of the principles and practice of citizenship, based on the premise that the current conditions and debates about citizenship cannot be fully understood without a knowledge of the historical background.

This is provided through an analytical narrative of the functioning of citizenship and the major theorists from Sparta to the present day, including quotations from key texts. In addition the reader is asked to consider, based on the historical evidence presented, how citizenship differs from other forms of socio-political identity. In particular the commonly-held assumption that citizenship and nationality are synonymous is questioned on the grounds of historical experience and the difficulties it raises.

Assuming no background knowledge, this is an ideal introduction to the history of citizenship.

Key Features

  • Fills a gap in the market by covering a neglected facet of the subject of Citizenship: its history
  • Comprehensive coverage, yet brief and easy-to-read
  • Combines narrative, analysis and quotations from key texts to offer a stimulating history of Citizenship


Socio-political identities
Models of the history of citizenship
1. Greece
Plato and Aristotle
2. Rome
3. Medieval and Early Modern Periods
Middle Ages
Italian city-states
Age of absolute monarchies
4. Age of Revolutions
Pre-revolutionary ideas
American Revolution
French Revolution
5. Modern and Contemporary Themes I
Nationality and multiculturalism
World citizenship
6. Modern and Contemporary Themes II
Civil, political and social rights
Civic socialization and education
Dilemmas in historical context
References and Select Bibliography

About the Author

Derek Heater, previously a teacher at school-level, adult education and in institutions of higher education, has, since 1983, enjoyed a successful career as a writer. His most recent publications include What is Citizenship? (1999), World Citizenship: Cosmopolitan Thinking and its Opponents (2002), A History of Education for Citizenship (2003), Citizenship: The Civic Ideal in World History, Politics and Education (3rd edn, 2004), and A Brief History of Citizenship (2004).


A well-written and enjoyable introduction. While a useful entrée for a range of undergraduate courses, it also provides a good background for those interested in current citizenship debates.
- Political Studies Review
Simply having the history collected in one place is extraordinarily valuable for students who often find themselves struggling to recognize the connections between philosophical debates and political practices and institutions… a pleasure to read.
- Professor Karen Zivi, University of Southern California
Review of the ebook edition: An excellent historical account of citizenship… Heater's work has a depth and solidity that is missing elsewhere… this is another excellent book from the leading authority in the field.
- Dr Ian Davies, University of York
An admirably clear, concise and entertaining survey of the different forms citizenship has taken from ancient to modern times.
- Dr Keith Faulks, University of Central Lancashire