What does it mean to be political? Every age has based its answer on citizenship, bequeathing us such indelible images as that of the Greek citizen exercising his rights and obligations in the agora, the Roman citizen conducting himself in the forum, medieval citizens receiving their charter before the guildhall. Being Political disrupts these images by approaching citizenship as otherness, presenting a powerful critique of universalistic and orientalist interpretations of its origins and a persuasive alternative history of the present struggles over citizenship. Being Political offers a series of genealogies of citizenship as otherness. Engin F. Isin invokes the city as a "difference machine," recovering slaves, peasants, artisans, prostitutes, vagabonds, savages, flextimers, and squeegee men in the streets of the polis, civitas, metropolis, and cosmopolis. The result is a challenge to think in bolder terms about citizenship at a time when its nature is an increasingly open question. Book jacket.