The process of globalization is accompanied by a reconfiguration of the ‘state-centric’ model that dominated the 19th and 20th centuries. This reconfiguration involves several different institutions directly connected to the state: among those,that of citizenship.
In the global age, what we are living through is a deconstruction of citizenship as it has been traditionally understood. This has partly been caused by the formation of international regulatory systems and the diffusion of supra-national norms. It seems necessary, therefore, to reconfigure the institution of citizenship: opening it to democratic interactions that are both as much transnational as they are subnational.
This process is not exempt from frictions. As observed by Seyla Benhabib,an intrinsic tension between universal and particular – or, rather, between global and local – is played out in the concept of citizenship: a tension that fully invests in the very idea of cosmopolitanism. The reality in which we find ourselves living is in need of a new negotiation of these two terms: a new balancing between global and local that is not only in favour of one of the two spheres.
In this attempt at mediation, the idea of “European citizenship” can be helpful, as is shown in Archibugi-Benli’s European Citizenship as Rights Claiming. Claiming “citizenship” and rights in a supra-national community dimension, such as the European one, can contribute to the redistribution of political power beyond the closure of national states and may foster new possibilities for European integration. In this way, is it possible to enliven a European civil society which acts within a space of supra-national dialogue where rights may be claimed not only by those formally entitled to do so – rightful “European citizens” – but also by those who are not.