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By Engin Isin
The be aware 'citizen' conjures up a specific legacy that's inexorably linked to 'European' values that outline particularly Euro-American states, resembling secularism, democracy, legislations, and rights. although, due to the fact 1945, those very values were more and more put below query from quite a few views, quite a bit in order that to name them completely eu values is to come across skepticism. This edited quantity takes as its topic the vexed courting among citizenship and orientalism, each one writer considering methods of re-articulating or re-imagining this dating. It explores the ways that we may perhaps start to imagine otherwise approximately citizenship as political subjectivity via offering the examine results of stories performed on the Open college as a part of the Citizenship after Orientalism (Oecumene) venture (2010-2014). jointly, those chapters represent a critique of citizenship as solely or even initially a eu establishment.
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Indd 18 7/29/15 11:44 AM Abject Choices? Orientalism, Citizenship, and Autonomy 19 To be an autonomous subject that can claim rights on the basis of one’s own capacity to make decisions and choose is an ineluctable requisite to be considered as a potential citizen. But this requirement, together with the figure of the abstract, disembodied, and rational individual, who is at the core of the Western notion of citizenship, depends on orientalist logic insofar as this figure of ‘the ideal citizen’ is constructed against a constitutive cultural other that does not qualify for it.
One of the ways in which this disavowal works is by displacing the question of choice onto a ‘bad other’ that allegedly precludes women’s right to choose. indd 19 7/29/15 11:44 AM 20 Citizenship after Orientalism the West is supposed to stand for, and it is then against this ‘bad other’ that such women ‘without autonomy’ (and Western values alike) will need to be ‘rescued’. It is by defining these women outside the field of autonomy – that is, characterizing women precisely as those who lack autonomy – that they can appear as ‘good others’ worthy of rescue after all.
Reclaiming agency in its own terms, while questioning the liberating connotations of nudity, this response questions which relations to our bodies might express autonomy and which ones do not. This debate also opens up further questions, touching on key assumptions about choice and freedom. 34 What happens when autonomy understood in these specific terms is not the most valued goal to achieve in order to have a good life? And what is at stake when trying to determine what might count as an authentic choice or not?