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Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies


Does citizenship always further Immigrants’ feeling of belonging to the host nation? A study of policies and public attitudes in 14 Western democracies

By Kristina Bakkær Simonsen, Comparative Migration Studies, March 2017

Immigrants’ access to citizenship in their country of residence is increasingly debated in Western democracies. It is an underlying premise of these debates that citizenship and national belonging are closely linked, but at the same time there is considerable cross-country variation in how citizenship is approached in Western democracies. In the literature, these differences are typically understood to reflect varying degrees of openness to seeing immigrants as part of the host national community. Motivated by this observation, the article examines whether the degree to which immigrants experience greater attachment to the host nation (i.e. belonging) from having host country citizenship is affected by the host country’s approach to citizenship. This question is analysed with multilevel regressions on survey and country-level data from 14 Western democracies. The findings show that citizenship is associated with increased host national belonging in countries where the host population attaches great importance to citizenship as a mark of national membership, while there is no positive association between citizenship and belonging in countries where the host population considers citizenship less important. Interestingly, citizenship policy does not have a moderating effect on the association between citizenship and national belonging. Implications for future studies of the subjective experience of citizenship are discussed.

Details on the publisher’s website.


Access to Citizenship and the Role of Origin Countries

By Maarten Peter Vink , Tijana Prokic-Breuer, & Jaap Dronkers (†), in Migrant Integration Between Homeland and Host Society, Springer, May 2017

For foreign-born residents and their children, attaining citizenship in the host country confers membership, rights and participation opportunities, and encourages a sense of belonging (Bloemraad 2006). From a destination country perspective, naturalisation is increasingly seen as an important part of the process of integrating immigrants. In order to optimise the use of what is sometimes termed the ‘citizenship premium’, actors in destination countries often advocate public policies that are aimed at increasing naturalisation rates among immigrants (OECD 2011; Sumption and Flamm 2012). The acquisition of citizenship is associated with better employment probability, higher earnings and higher occupational positions (Liebig and Von Haaren 2011). Politically, in a democratic context, citizenship normally qualifies immigrants to take an active part in the electoral politics of the destination country (Pikkov 2011; De Rooij 2012).

Details at the publisher’s website. 


The Determinants of Cross-National Variation in Migrants’ Access to Rights

By Ralph Ittonen Hosoki, Sociological Inquiry, May 2017

States vary in the degree to which rights enjoyed by the native citizenry are conferred upon foreign nationals, and rarely do non-nationals fully enjoy comparable rights unless they naturalize. Extant studies on cross-national variations in access to citizenship are largely qualitative and limited to Western liberal democracies, making generalizable claims difficult, and there is limited theorization on the impact of exogenous global influences on citizenship and nationality laws. This cross-national study utilizes Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression to adjudicate between world cultural and domestic economic, political, and demographic explanations for migrants’ access to rights, using minimum residency length requirement for naturalization as a proxy measure. Results show that international non-governmental organization (INGO) membership is the strongest predictor of cross-national variance in minimum residency length requirements, suggesting that the diffusion of world cultural human rights scripts through cultural linkages with INGOs influences a state's willingness to confer the ultimate means to legal membership and rights.

Read at the journal’s website.


The quintessentially democratic act? Democracy, political community and citizenship in and after the UK’s EU referendum of June 2016


By Jo Shaw, Journal of European Integration, May 2017

On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, by a rather small majority. Although much about the future relations between the EU and the UK remains uncertain, it is already possible to explore in more detail the issues of democracy, political community and citizenship which were thrown up by this referendum result. The article explores the reconstruction of the vote as the ‘will of the people’, in the light of the principle of demoi-cracy which suggests a more nuanced approach to the issue of democratic consent in complex multi-level polities such as the UK and the EU. Specific questions are raised about the narrowness of the referendum franchise, and about the consequences that flow from the territorially differentiated result of the referendum, with Scotland in particular voting strongly ‘to remain’.

Read at the journal’s website (for queries: jo.shaw@ed.ac.uk)



Nationhood and Scandinavian naturalization politics: varieties of the civic turn

By Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen, Christian Fernández & Grete Brochmann, Citizenship Studies, May 2017

The neighboring countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway represent three very similar societies that differ markedly with respect to naturalization policy. While the general trend of a civic turn has brought about some of Europe’s strictest residence and citizenship requirements in Denmark, it has left the liberal Swedish policy largely untouched and the Norwegian somewhere in between the other two. How might such divergence in otherwise very similar societies be explained? This article investigates the role different conceptions of nationhood have played. It is argued that different conceptions of nationhood have mattered, but that the national differences have less to do with the normative content of nationhood than with how politicians tend to conceive of the integration process that newcomers must commit to in order to develop a strong sense of national belonging.

Read at the journal’s website.