Nina S. Johnson

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20082009 Forum on Change

Nina S. Johnson


College '09

Citizenship and Nationality in a Globalizing World

Liberalism, as a philosophical doctrine, is based on the idea that individuals matter. Individuals set fundamental ends that they believe to be valuable and then revise and pursue those ends in the real world. Where a person is born can have a profound effect on the ends that a person sets and the means with which they examine and realize them. Given that people do not choose the nation in which they are born, nationality seems arbitrary from the moral point of view. This paper examines nationality and what it means to be a member of a national community, in an effort to show that the experience of being raised in such a community ‘marks’ individuals in a way that is normatively significant. Ultimately, I argue that the fact that individuals are bounded to particular nations changes the way in which we should look at them from the perspective of justice.