I trade, therefore I am: Legal personhood in the European Union

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details Vol.50, No.6, December 2013, p1643-1683
Publication Date December 2013
ISSN 0165-0750
Content Type

Publishers Abstract:
EU citizenship is the subject of incremental and painstaking construction. In allowing themselves to get caught up with dissecting each separate installment that comes with each new case, they risk accepting without scrutiny what should be a controversial ideological framework -- that of an economic/market citizenship. Within this framework, rights do not attach to personhood; rather rights are triggered, interpreted, delineated and weighed according to a miscellany of conditions. As a result, claimants can face social welfare cliff edges -- tipping them over the edge of the cliff, from full protection to none -- on the basis of apparently arbitrary tricks of circumstance. These vectors of disentitlement mean that EU citizenship is not quite a unitary status, but more a patchwork of personhoods. By vesting rights in criss-crossing conditions rather than in people they lose the person as a fundamental moral unit of their social structure. In divesting the person of legal content, they risk divesting the law of moral content -- and their own judgment of questions of justice and what is right.

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