Introduction: Allegiance and identity in a globalised world

Fiona Jenkins, Mark Nolan, Kim Rubenstein

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Interrogating the concepts of allegiance and identity in a globalised world involves challenging long-standing attempts to describe, recognise and regulate membership, connection and participation within and beyond the nation-state. On the one hand, concepts of allegiance and identity can be used quite simplistically to define a singular national identity and common connection to a nation-state. Yet, on the other hand, allegiance and identity are notions that can help us understand the capacity for nation-states, and members of nation-states, to maintain diversity, and to build allegiance with others outside of the border. For example, in forging transnational entities that share norms, values, laws and social practices transcending singular national concerns, the sphere of national identity and allegiance becomes far more complex than traditional figures of commitment and belonging can encompass. Indeed, understanding how allegiance and identity are being reconfigured helps us understand diversity and social (dis)harmony within and beyond nation-states. Controversies surrounding allegiance and identity are both similar and different for domestic public lawyers and international lawyers. While each of these legal perspectives, the domestic and the international, involve viewing the nation-state as fundamental to concepts of allegiance and identity, they also see the world slightly differently, depending upon the frame of public law or international law. Indeed, scholars contributing to this volume, in addition to thinking from both the public law and international law vantage, have used multiple disciplinary perspectives to examine allegiance and identity in a range of socio-legal contexts. Some have examined the tensions created by the legal description, recognition and regulation of national (public law) citizenship or nationality, regional identity and constitutional identity. A central set of questions here is the extent to which law can and should help constitute identity as a basis for engendering a form of allegiance that includes indentity to the polity. Other contributors have sought to understand indigenous identity and customary law in contrast to the identity and laws of a dominant public law culture co-existing with the indigenous peoples.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAllegiance and Identity in a Globalised World
EditorsFiona Jenkins, Mark Nolan, Kim Rubenstein
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781139696654
ISBN (Print)9781107074330
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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