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Kiran Banerjee

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This article looks to contemporary debates about the emergence of post-national forms of membership and analyzes their significance as potential challenges to exclusionary conceptions of citizenship and the state. Taking seriously the claims of cosmopolitan theorists that transnational institutions like the European Union offer the promise of eroding the tension between the rights of citizens and the rights of others, I use the case of contemporary transformations in German citizenship to argue that present dynamics of inclusion are far more ambivalent. While recent shifts in the legal status of EU citizenship do herald the emergence of a robust form of post-national status, these transformations only highlight the growing gap between the rights of Europeans and those of nationals from outside the EU for whom limited access to national citizenship remains a central concern. Recognizing these contradictory dynamics is important for theorists to take note of because of the promissory role the EU so frequently plays in the work of cosmopolitans and post-nationalists, in truth the contemporary politics of inclusion indicates a far less sanguine present.