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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Postcolonial citizenship : reconceiving authority and belonging in settler societies Kornelsen, Derek Wayne

Abstract

In Postcolonial Citizenship: Reconceiving Authority and Belonging in Settler Societies I argue that a key undertheorized barrier to the self-determination of Indigenous peoples in Canada is a conceptual one that effectively (and often incorrectly) transforms claims related to self-determination into claims for some form of differentiated citizenship within the Canadian state. I argue that this conceptual disconnect should be understood as a conflict between competing conceptions of citizenship and, in response, I have proposed an analytical framework (Chapter 2) that serves to highlight how community and authority stand in a recursive relationship with each other to comprise the referent for citizenship. Further, I have argued that in contexts of settler colonialism, the underlying settler colonial ideology functions to impose a colonial referent that subordinates any conception of citizenship to an underlying and undertheorized commitment to territoriality or the modern spatial strategy to control resources and people by controlling geographical area. As an undertheorized foundation for theories of citizenship, territoriality imposes relationships of domination—first between humans and land (including animals, rocks, rivers, trees, etc.) and subsequently between humans and their political authorities. Chapters 3 and 4 describe how the initial anthropocentric domination of land through the imposition of territorial boundaries undermines the emancipatory narratives of canonical (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau) and contemporary (Taylor, Kymlicka, Tully) theories of citizenship. In Chapter 5, I argue that the domination that is inherent in territorial frameworks is especially poignant for Indigenous peoples who do not endorse the Western philosophical foundations that enable domination. In addition, I have sought to articulate an alternative referent by drawing on critical Indigenist thought in order to provide a clearer picture of the kinds Indigenist alternative conceptions of citizenship that are foreclosed by an imposition of territorial domination. I conclude in Chapter 6 by outlining a conception of postcolonial citizenship that emerges when an Indigenist view of citizenship like the one presented in Chapter 5 confronts settler colonialism and how this confrontation ought to inform strategies for reconciliation.

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