“Bad subject” is a pooled, transnational category used to describe recidivists, forgers, vagrants, indigents, and mendicants. Authorities applied a common set of sanctions to bad subjects: deportation, banishment, and removal of protection. “Bad subjecthood” was nationality’s double: a status category that turned subjective description into an official determinant of life chances, a legal fiction that became an article of official consensus. By the First World War, explicit reference to bad subjects had largely disappeared, as its social control functions were absorbed into nationality.
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