One of the most defining features of the world today is how interconnected we are. The global world is more familiar to us now than it has even been. However, there is some growing concern over the nature of human governance and our relation to the entire world. This is especially in reference to the citizenship of a nation-state. In “World Citizenship Defined” we see an articulation of this idea. The very idea of being a world citizen is simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar; we are hyperaware of transnational markets, cultural diffusion, yet still live through a partitioned view of the world.
Many of us are paradoxically bound by the identity that most orients us globally: national citizenship. Citizenship does not exist without borders. Like how borders on a map divide up the world into contiguously “owned” polities, borders between people are constructed when we define ourselves in relation to a non-citizen “other”. The notion of citizenship itself is complicated; many inhabitants of some nations are not given the privilege of citizenship. When we envision ourselves moving through the world, it is not conceived as one continuous flow of location but as crossing borders over discrete areas of recognized political autonomy. When one land ends, another one abruptly begins.
According to the World Service Authority, the connection to citizenship and the entity of a nation-state seem antiquated, essentially-suicidal in such a global world. Enacting a global, shared citizenship seems nigh impossible as it involves unlearning the notions of a nation-state in a multi-factional, divided world where citizenship upholds a dichotomy of “us”, relative to the state, versus the “other”.
My question is: is this a realistic goal for us to strive towards? It seems more and more inevitable that the nation-state system will come under extreme pressures in the upcoming years. Scarcity for resources and climate change threaten to irreversibly change the lifestyle of humans and humanity. I really do wonder what sort of world our descendants would live in because I honestly am not sure if it’ll look anything like ours. The idea of a global consciousness seems so logical to preserve the human species, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to internalize and reify it into any tangible result.