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Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies


Negotiating the Boundaries of Belonging. The Intricacies of Naturalisation in Germany

By Nils Witte, Springer, 2017

Nils Witte explores Turkish migrants’ destigmatization strategies and investigates their legal and symbolic motives for naturalisation. Using mixed methods and unique data the author shows that Turkish migrants’ inclination to naturalise would be stronger if they were allowed to retain their former citizenship and if they were recognized as symbolic members of German society. Minority members enjoy expansive rights as permanent residents and many are entitled to hold German citizenship. However, they often experience symbolic exclusion making symbolic membership a rare motive for naturalisation. 

Details at the publisher’s website.




Voting with an 'Unsound Mind'? A Comparative Study of the Voting Rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities

By Trevor Ryan, Andrew Henderson and Wendy Bonython, UNSW Law Journal, 2016

While Australia has a system of universal franchise, in the sense of a system of voting that is broadly inclusionary, there are some notable exceptions – minors and some convicted criminals are excluded, for example. While the political participation of these excluded groups sometimes attracts attention in the media, there is another group that has been even more marginalised, both within society and within debates over the franchise. This group is persons with mental disability or, more precisely, with actual or assumed impaired decision-making capacity resulting from chronic or acute mental illness, dementia, intellectual disability or brain injury. This appears to be changing as individual nations (including Australia) assess their compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on a range of issues and as a greater number of citizens experience dementia in an ageing population. This article seeks to contribute to this reform momentum by comparing the laws relating to this issue across jurisdictions, particularly Japan and Australia, to argue for a political franchise without discrimination against persons with mental disabilities.

Full text at the journal’s website.


Statelessness in the Caribbean. The Paradox of Belonging in a Postnational World

By Kristy A. Belton, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017

Without citizenship from any country, more than 10 million people worldwide are unable to enjoy the rights, freedoms, and protections that citizens of a state take for granted. They are stateless and formally belong nowhere. The stateless typically face insurmountable obstacles in their ability to be self-determining agents and are vulnerable to a variety of harms, including neglect and exploitation. Through an analysis of statelessness in the Caribbean, Kristy A. Belton argues for the reconceptualization of statelessness as a form of forced displacement.

Details at the publisher’s website.





Anticipating the citizenship premium: before and after effects of immigrant naturalisation on employment

By Floris Peters, Maarten Vink & Hans Schmeets, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2017

Can citizenship improve the economic integration of immigrants, and if so, how? Scholars traditionally understand a citizenship premium in the labour market, besides access to restricted jobs, as the result of a positive signal of naturalisation towards employers. While we do not discard these mechanisms, we argue that explanations should also take into account that migrants anticipate rewards and opportunities of naturalisation by investing in their human capital development. We thus expect to observe improved employment outcomes already before the acquisition of citizenship. We use micro-level register data from Statistics Netherlands from 1999 until 2011 (N = 94,320) to test this expectation. Results show a one-time boost in the probability of having employment after naturalisation, consistent with the prevalent notion of positive signalling. However, we find that the employment probability of naturalising migrants already develops faster during the years leading up to citizenship acquisition, even when controlling for endogeneity of naturalisation. We conclude that it is not just the positive signal of citizenship that improves employment opportunities, but also migrants’ human capital investment in anticipation of naturalisation.

Read at the journal’s website.


Beyond instrumental citizenship: the Spanish and Italian citizenship regimes in times of crisis

By Claudia Finotelli, MariaCaterina La Barbera & Gabriel Echeverría, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2017

The aim of this article is to contribute to the current debate on integration during economic downturn by analysing to what extent citizenship regimes may offer opportunities for instrumental uses of naturalisation in times of economic crisis. Its main goal is to provide a more nuanced view of citizenship acquisition, its implications and its alleged instrumental uses to stabilise legal status and improve mobility chances. For this purpose, our analysis focuses on the nexus between citizenship regimes and naturalisations trends in Italy and Spain as two major Southern European immigration countries that have similar migration histories, but rather different citizenship regimes. The first part of the article provides an overview of the scholarly debate on the concept of instrumental citizenship and elaborates a typology of the possible instrumental uses by states and migrants. The second part examines the citizenship regimes and analyses the opportunity structures opened up by citizenship acquisition channels in Italy and Spain. Finally, the article analyses naturalisation trends to show that instrumental uses of citizenship acquisition are closely connected to the different opportunity structures offered by the Italian and Spanish citizenship regimes.

Read at the publisher’s website.