Diminished Citizenship: A Genealogy of the Development of 'Soft Citizenship' at the Intersection of US Mass and Political Culture




Miller, Jennifer Lynn

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My thesis is influenced by such scholars as Lee Edelman, Shane Phelan, and Lauren Berlant, who sit at the intersection of queer theory and citizenship studies, my project undertakes a genealogy of contemporary citizenship subjectivity and practice in the United States. I designate my object "soft citizenship," to separate it from citizenship as defined by the state through civic and electoral practices, and to define a mode of thinking and performing politics characterized by familial-based moralization, child-centricity, sentimentality, and politicized consumption. My use of genealogy is indebted to Michel Foucault and enables a materialist understanding of cultural phenomenon as effects of social forces; for example, my project reveals the process by which the nation began to be imagined through the trope of the heteronormative family, a practice still prevalent today, which reflects the child-centricity and familial-based moralization I attribute to soft citizenship.



American studies, Women's studies, Gender studies, Censorship, Citizenship, Film, Gender, Nation building, Sexuality