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Democratic Self-determination and Non-citizen Residents

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

AbstractIn liberal democracies, citizens are entitled to a substantive package of rights, including the right to participate in politics. Without this right, citizens cannot be self-determining in any rich sense. As more and more people cross borders, the number of residents without citizenship is rising, as is the number of people who have little say in the political life of the communities in which they reside. I assess the normative status of long-term, non-citizen residents and conclude that, without the right to vote, and without the right to run for office, long-term, non-citizen residents are denied political self-determination. Using the “thick-thin” lens that unites the contributions to this issue, I propose granting non-citizen residents more expansive political rights.

Affiliations: 1: University of Ottawa Ontario, Canada, Email:, URL:


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