Over the last decade, as new laws allowing individuals to be stripped of citizenship have sprung up across Western states, many have analogised denationalization to the hitherto discarded medieval punishment of banishment. In this article, Gibney aims to explain why banishment disappeared from modern societies so as to understand better the character of its contemporary ‘revival’. He draws on a wealth of historical work on the practice of banishment to paint a picture of the development of the practice since ancient Greece.
Gibney suggests that while banishment proved itself compatible with varied ways of conceptualising citizenship and societal purposes across the ancient, medieval and early modern worlds, the rise of territorial state and nationalised conceptions of membership in the nineteenth century undermined the punishment. He argues that modern denationalisation revives banishment but only in a highly modified and constrained form.