Book review: Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights, Rosemarie Buikema, Antoine Buyse and Antonius C. G. M. Robben, Electronic edition, Routledge, Abingdon, 2020

Date01 July 2021
Published date01 July 2021
Subject MatterBook Review
Book Review
Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights, Rosemarie Buikema, Antoine Buyse and Antonius C. G. M.
Robben, Electronic edition, Routledge, Abingdon, 2020, pp. 268 (Paperback), £36.99 (Kindle Edition).
The question of belongingness, of protection by law, in a society is characterized by constantly altering
connotations attached to existing legal and cultural resources. Citizenship is therefore defined by the
cultural and legal factors shaping it in the society. The shifting paradigm from the static ‘institution of
citizenship’ to more performative ‘acts of citizenship’ is the result of diverging values apropos different
people in a society, each of whose culture has a bearing on the way human rights are perceived both
globally and locally.
The book entitled Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights is part of the Routledge Advances in
Sociology series. The electronic edition marks a total of 258 pages, with the book itself divided into three
segments further sub-divided into four chapters each. Each chapter has its own unique colour of research
traditions and methodologies. The book focuses on human rights law, conflict resolution, history, critical
race, media, gender, postcolonial studies, and anthropology to study the ever-changing forms of
citizenship. It relies on the genius of interdisciplinary research to reach beyond the traditional expanse of
human rights law to explore a more nuanced cultural—and legal—foundation of citizenship. With a
specific focus on Europe, the different chapters add value to each other by identifying the specific
features that shape citizenship and thus provide an analysis on assessing the process of inclusion and
exclusion, the problems arising out of mass and irregular migration, etc.
Summary of Argument
The contents of the book are divided into three parts: Mediation, Sovereignty and Contestation. The
chapters in the first part follow the common thread running between cultural and political belongingness
in and beyond Europe with respect to migration, communication globally and locally, etc. The theme is
that citizenship exists in the blend of law and culture. The second part compares sovereignty with
citizenship by tracing between them the common link of authority, and how they are bound by and derive
their mandate from the concept. Finally, the third part dealing with contestation emphasizes that
citizenship and human rights are not an easy fruit to pick but are instead matters of constant negotiation
and battles that may result either in wrenching segregation or unification.
Asian Journal of Legal Education
8(2) 259–262, 2021
© 2021 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/23220058211012644

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