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Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies


Terror and the loss of citizenship

By Christian Joppke, Citizenship Studies, June 2016

Terror in the name of God and the specter of returning fighters for the so-called ‘Islamic State’ have recently moved some Western states, including Britain, Canada, and France, toward revoking the citizenship of terrorists. To critics, this constitutes a ‘return to banishment,’ a ‘fate universally decried by civilized people,’ as an American Supreme Court Chief Justice put it in the late 1950s. In a double reflection on the changing nature of terror and of citizenship, this paper argues that denationalization is, in principle, the adequate response to terror. This is because terror, particularly of the Islamist kind, is no ordinary crime but attack on the fundaments of citizenship. But what is right in principle may not be the right thing to do, because denationalization raises serious practicality problems.

Read at the journal’s website.


Ethics & International Affairs 30th anniversary volume, responses to Patti Tamara Lenard’s article on denationalisation

By Elizabeth F. Cohen, Ben Herzog, David Miller, and Patti Tamara Lenard, Ethics & International Affairs, June 2016

The second issue in EIA’s 30th anniversary volume includes an exchange discussing Patti Tamara Lenard’s article on democracies and the power to revoke citizenship (EIA 30.1), with contributions by Elizabeth F. Cohen, Ben Herzog, and David Miller, and with a reply by Patti Tamara Lenard.

Read at the Ethics & International Affairs website.



Ethnicizing citizenship, questioning membership. Explaining the decreasing family migration rights of citizens in Europe

By Saskia Bonjour and Laura Block, Citizenship Studies, June 2016

Citizenship does not equal belonging. In this paper, we investigate how the disjunction between the ‘imagined community’ and the formal citizenry impacts on citizens’ rights. In particular, we analyse decision-making on the family migration rights of citizens in France, Germany and the Netherlands. Our analysis shows that in these three countries, notwithstanding their different migration and citizenship regimes, the reduction of citizens’ family migration rights is based on the same discursive mechanism: the ‘membership’ of citizens of migrant origin who marry a partner from abroad is called into question. As they are excluded from membership of the imagined community, their entitlement to family migration rights is decreased. Ethnic conceptions of national community, intersecting with gender and class, play a crucial role in shaping the rights attached to citizenship in Europe today.

Read at the journal's website.


Special Issue: Naturalisation policies in the Global South


By Tobias Schwarz (ed.), Migration Letters, 2016

Naturalisations do not happen automatically – unlike the acquisition of nationality at birth – but must be brought about deliberately. The varying ways naturalisations are organized in any society therefore offer an opportunity to gain clues as to which criteria are assumed to be relevant for the respective definition of national belonging. This introduction argues that most research on naturalisation still focusses on Western states, and that theories of naturalisation are largely derived from Western cases. It describes the ethnocentric bias of much of the universalizing comparative research on naturalisations, and outlines the main reasons for the lack of research beyond the West. It then presents the articles on naturalisation policies in the Global South brought together in this special issue. The contributions analyse ethnically exclusive nationality laws in Liberia and Israel; selective two-tier regimes of immigrant incorporation in Hong Kong and Singapore; investor citizenship schemes which are much more common in the Global South than in the North, exemplified by the case of Mauritius; and Mexico, whose norms assign naturalised Mexicans the status of “second-class citizens”.

Access full text here. 


Practising transnational citizenship: dual nationality and simultaneous political involvement among emigrants

By Andrea Schlenker, Joachim Blatter and Ieva Birka, JEMS, May 2016

Acceptance of dual citizenship allows migrants to naturalise in the country of residence (CoR) without giving up their former citizenship. For migrant sending countries the question emerges whether emigrants who acquire another citizenship are less attached to and politically active in the country of origin than those who do not. This would be the assumption of traditional perspectives on migration and citizenship. However, according to the transnational perspective neither multiple nationalities, nor participation in and identification with the CoR, preclude ongoing ties and participation back home. We test these perspectives with survey data on Swiss citizens residing in France, Germany, Italy and the US. Our results suggest that Swiss dual citizens abroad are not significantly less attached to and active in Switzerland than their mono national counterparts. Our data further supports the transnational perspective by showing not only simultaneity, but a mutually reinforcing relationship when transnational citizenship is practised. Identification with, and political participation in, the CoR positively relates to equivalent feelings and activities in the country of origin. Since dual citizenship sets the legal foundation for simultaneous involvement in two countries, it correctly assumes a central place in the study of transnational citizenship.

Access via JEMS website.