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Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies


Il voto degli altri. Rappresentanza e scelte elettorali degli italiani all’estero

Edited by Guido Tintori, Rosenberg & Sellier, Turin, 2012

The political inclusion of the expatriates (and their descendants) in Italy reached a climax with the approval of the 2000-2001 Laws, by which Italian residents abroad can now elect six senators and twelve deputies in representation of the ‘abroad’ district, divided into four geographic constituencies – Europe, South America, North America, and Asia-Africa-Oceania.

Il voto degli altri describes for the first time in detail the social and political profiles of Italy’s overseas voters and MPs. Written by scholars of different disciplinary backgrounds, the chapters of this edited book analyse how and why Italian policymakers decided to introduce the 2000-2001 legislation after a lengthy debate that started already in the first half of the 20th century; how a system of representation of the so called ‘Italians abroad’ historically evolved in the different areas of settlement; the electoral campaigns and election results of 2006 and 2008 general elections.

The progressive institutional inclusion of Italian residents abroad is compared with the experiences of other countries and assessed in the light of the most recent literature on matter of external citizenship and voting rights. The book aims to contribute to the scholarly debate as well as to a reform of the current overseas voting system, which has proved to be flawed and based on an essentialist understanding of the ‘other’ Italians.

La nationalité luxembourgeoise (XIXe-XXIe siècles). Histoire d’un alliage européen

By Denis Scuto, Editions de l'Université de Bruxelles, Brussels, 2012

Les Etats modernes ont instauré des mécanismes juridiques complexes pour régler l’appartenance ou non d’un individu à l’Etat-nation. Denis Scuto analyse la construction de la nationalité luxembourgeoise, du Code civil à nos jours, en dégageant les influences des législations belge, française et allemande. Bien loin de se limiter au seul cadre luxembourgeois, une telle approche « enrichit notre réflexion sur les différentes formes prises par la construction de la nationalité en Europe à l’époque contemporaine » (Gérard Noiriel).

Mais les questions de nationalité ne se réduisent pas à l’aspect législatif ; elles sont intimement liées aux pratiques et aux discours relatifs aux migrations et aux migrants. Faut-il leur ouvrir ou non l’accès à la nationalité ? Que ressentent « ceux d’en bas », ces étrangers qui ont cherché à obtenir la nationalité luxembourgeoise ? L’étude sociale de centaines de dossiers de naturalisation révèle à la fois leurs motivations et leurs espoirs.

La « nationalisation » de la société au XXe siècle politise fortement la question, devenue désormais l’enjeu d’intérêts contradictoires. L’industrialisation, la démocratisation de la vie politique et la mise en place d’une législation sociale y introduisent la question des bénéficiaires de ces droits nouveaux. Les débats sur le droit du sang ou le droit du sol révèlent une dialectique entre ouverture et fermeture, politique identitaire et politique d’intégration, qui souligne l’héritage du passé.

Un défi fondamental se pose aujourd’hui aux pays qui, comme le Luxembourg, connaissent une forte immigration depuis la fin du XIXe siècle : comment englober par le droit de la nationalité le plus de personnes possibles dans un projet politique et sociétal d’avenir commun ?

Much Ado About Not-Very-Much? Assessing Ten Years of German Citizenship Reform

By Simon Green, Citizenship Studies 16(2) 2012

This article examines the development and impact of German citizenship policy over the past decade. As its point of departure, it takes the 2000 Citizenship Law, which sought to undertake a full-scale reform and liberalisation of access to German membership. The article discusses this law's content and subsequent amendments, focusing particularly on its quantitative impact, asking why the number of naturalisations has been lower than originally expected. The article outlines current challenges to the law's structure operation and identifies potential trajectories for its future development.

To purchase the article online, click here.

Who is the Greek Citizen? Status of the Greek nationality from the creation of the Greek State till the dawn of the 21st century

By Dimitris Christopoulos, Vivliorama Pub. Athens, 2012

“Who is the Greek citizen?’’ is par excellence an open question.  A question that has been giving ground to semantic contradictions and different political apprehending, stimulating - in turn - further questions: Which are the criteria that have been used to define “who is the Greek citizen?” during the last two centuries since the emergence of the modern Greek nation-state in 1821 and until today? Have those criteria been stable in time or shifting? And if they have been shifting, how often do they change and why? What similar criteria of membership in a political community can they be compared with? Which have been the decisive factors that enabled non-Greeks to become Greek citizens? Who was included in, and who was excluded from such processes of citizenship granting and acquisition? What have been the expectations of the state from its citizens? And to what extend is citizenship overwhelmed with ideology?
This book deals with such questions and proposes a short route in the history of the Greek nation through citizenship’s perspective, while pointing out recent challenges. It shows that questions about citizenship resonate with themes and issues beyond the narrow legal bond between state and the individual, and can further our understanding about the community and the polity itself.
’Who is the Greek citizen?’’ is a question worth to be posed, especially today when the country undergoes a period of extreme uncertainty and political cruelty. A question that, by all means, has had and still has a great impact on the destiny of people with a ‘genuine link’ to Greece; even - or mostly - during the country’s most difficult times. 

Explaining access to citizenship in Europe: How citizenship policies affect naturalization rates

By Jaap Dronkers and Maarten P. Vink, European Union Politics, September 2012 13(3)

In Europe, a variety of national policies regulate access to citizenship. This article analyses how citizenship policies affect naturalization rates among immigrants. Our analysis confirms that favourable citizenship policies positively affect naturalization rates, especially among first-generation immigrants with more than 5 but fewer than 20 years of residence. However, most variation is explained by other factors. Immigrants from poor, politically unstable, and non-EU countries are more likely to be a citizen of their European country of residence. Other important predictors of the citizenship status of immigrants are language, years of residence (first generation), and age (second generation). Explanations of naturalization rates in Europe should not only take into account institutional conditions but also include other destination and origin country factors and individual characteristics of immigrants.

Further information here.