Unequal Equality: Belonging, Citizenship, and Exclusion in Modern Democracies


My dissertation analyzes the meaning of “belonging” within 21st-century democratic societies. I disentangle the relationship between formal inclusion (citizenship) and informal inclusion (how citizens relate to each other in the public space) to explore the consequences for political equality posed by fraught belonging in contemporary democracies. The democratic myth expects informal inclusion to decant slowly from equal citizenship, but the promise falls short. Why?

I focus on the ways in which ordinary citizens treat one another, how they enact citizenship, and how they recognize the imperatives of equal inclusion in some cases, but not others. The dissertation is both a theoretical endeavor and an empirical exercise built around ethnographic fieldwork in Mexico and France.

I am writing my dissertation under the guidance of Bernard Harcourt and Dan Slater (co-chairs), John P. McCormick, Tianna Paschel, and Lisa Wedeen.