Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies


Immigrant enfranchisement in Latin America: From strongmen to universal citizenship

By Cristina Escobar, in Democratization (published online 14 April 2015)

In order to explain non-citizen enfranchisement in Latin America, this article takes into account three dimensions: domestic (citizenship tradition, immigration levels, internal politics), global (international and bilateral agreements, human rights discourse) and regional (common markets, diffusion, geopolitics). The article identifies two main modalities: from the early twentieth century to the 1980s, when democracy was not a necessary condition and when national factors prevailed. Starting in the 1990s, democratization in Latin America has brought a new wave of non-citizen enfranchisement, this time with more influence of global and regional factors and, in various cases, in connection with external voting rights.

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Expatriates as voters? The new dynamics of external voting in Sub-Saharan Africa


By Christoff Hartmann, in Democratization, published online 7 April 2015

Expatriate voting has gained in importance over the last decade in Sub-Saharan Africa. This article gives an empirical overview of existing regulations in all independent states of the continent and examines some explanatory approaches in the African context. One approach claims that expatriate enfranchisement is a functional response to the increasing importance of migrants and their remittances. A second explanation refers to the role of domestic political structures and regime types. A third cluster of explanatory factors links external voting to the interests of political parties. Both in the broader comparative analysis and by looking more specifically at the cases of Ghana, South Africa, Cape Verde and Nigeria, all three approaches specifically contribute to understanding variation of external voting rights in Sub-Saharan Africa.



The enfranchisement of resident aliens: variations and explanations

By David Earnest, in Democratization (Published online: 15 March 2015)

What explains the timing of the liberalization of citizenship laws? Although scholars have offered a number of competing explanations for differences among citizenship regimes, few have examined the timing of liberalization and retraction of rights for non-citizens. To investigate the timing of both liberalization and reversal, this study examines the historical expansion of voting rights for non-citizen residents (VRA). Given both the symbolic and substantive consequences of VRA, democracies may proceed slowly when liberalizing political rights and may retract them quickly. Two bodies of scholarship offer competing explanations. The “national resilience” thesis suggests that differences in cultural definitions of citizenry, political institutions, and social policies produce national citizenship regimes that evolve slowly. By contrast, the “policy constraints” thesis asserts that domestic institutions enact human rights norms that expedite convergence around a common set of political rights. This study tests these explanations by examining the timing of liberalization of VRA in 25 democracies between 1975 and 2010. It finds factors that drive the timing of liberalization differ from those that cause the reversal of rights. While policy constraints best explain the timing of liberalization, policy constraints interact with national resilience factors to explain the retraction of rights.

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“Keeping Pandora's (ballot) box half-shut”: a comparative inquiry into the institutional limits of external voting in EU Member States

By Derek Hutcheson and Jean-Thomas Arrighi, in Democratization (published online: 15 March 2015)

The article compares the institutional constraints that limit the potential electoral impact of external voting in national legislative elections in the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU). It shows that the discrepancy between policy aims and outcomes can be mainly attributed to a variety of institutional constraints restricting the scope of the policy (through residence and professional qualifications); limiting eligible voters’ access to the ballot (through cumbersome registration procedures and voting methods); and reducing the electoral weight attributed to their votes (through distinct modes of representation). It argues that the discrepancy is at least partly the result of a combination of electoral and normative concerns about the influence that external voters could and should have in elections. Institutional restrictions on the franchise of external citizens may be interpreted as a way to keep the “Pandora's box” of unexpected electoral consequences half-shut, by extending the suffrage to a traditionally excluded electorate while at the same time moderating the implications.

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Morphing the Demos into the right shape. Normative principles for enfranchising resident aliens and expatriate citizens

By Rainer Bauböck, Democratization (2015)

In this article, Rainer Bauböck criticizes, first, democratic inclusion principles that are indeterminate with regard to democratic boundaries and indifferent towards the structural features of polities. He suggests that a democratic stakeholder principle passes these critical tests and can be applied to democratic polities of different kinds. Second, he compares birthright-based and residence-based membership regimes at state and local levels and considers how they can accommodate international migrants. In the third and final part, the author argues that these two regimes are not freestanding alternatives between which democratic polities have to choose, but are combined in a multilevel architecture of democratic citizenship, in which the inclusion and exclusion dynamics of birthright and residence mutually constrain each other and every individual is included as a citizen in both types of polities.

A full text version of this article can be downloaded for free by the first 50 EUDO CITIZENSHIP readers: DOWNLOAD HERE