Citizenship is a way of defining personhood, which links rights and agency: ‘citizenship as rights enables people to act as agents’ (Lister 1997). It is consequently a powerful word, with connotations of respect, rights and dignity. As Fraser and Gordon (1994) remark: ‘We find no pejorative uses.
It is a weighty, monumental, humanist word’. However, the history of citizenship has been one of terrible exclusions, stemming from the denial of respect, rights, dignity and even humanity by some groups to others. Indeed, from its earliest inception, citizenship has been as much about exclusion as inclusion.