Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies


Strategic citizens of America: transnational inequalities and transformation of citizenship


By Evren Balta and Özlem Altan-Olcay, Ethnic and Racial Studies, November 2015

This article analyses the process whereby ‘natural' citizens of one country mobilize their resources so that their children receive by birthright, the citizenship of a rich liberal democracy. Utilizing the case of Turkish upper classes, who give birth in the USA in order to benefit from the jus soli principle, we trace the emergence of new inequalities at the intersection of multiple citizenship regimes. We show that, by mobilizing resources in markets of health care, travel, and real estate, those with means can acquire US citizenship for their children in expectation of future benefits. Because they are able to access ‘valuable' citizenships, these actors can strategically combine privileges within nation states with inequalities between citizenship regimes at the global level for the children. Their differential access to citizenship enhances the gate-keeping functions of citizenship. Based on these observations, we draw an analogy between citizenship and property regimes, understood broadly.


The ecology of immigrant naturalisation: a life course approach in the context of institutional conditions


By Floris Peters, Maarten Vink and Hans Schmeets, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, November 2015

Traditionally, immigrants’ propensity to naturalize is attributed to individual characteristics and the origin country. Recently scholars increasingly recognise that naturalisation decisions do not take place in a vacuum: they are conditioned both by the individual life course of immigrants, such as the age at migration and family situation, as well as the opportunity structure set by citizenship policies of the destination country. Yet it is less clear what impact specific policy changes have, and to whom these changes matter most. In this paper we address these questions by analysing citizenship acquisition among first generation immigrants in the Netherlands in light of a restriction in citizenship policy in 2003. We employ unique micro-level longitudinal data from Dutch municipal population registers between 1995 until 2012, which allow us to track naturalisation among different immigration cohorts. We find evidence that indeed naturalisation is part of a larger life course trajectory: immigrants who arrive at a younger age in the Netherlands naturalise more often and so do immigrants with a native partner, or a foreign-born partner who also naturalises. Policy also matters: migrants naturalise later and less often under more restrictive institutional conditions, especially migrants from less developed and politically unstable countries of origin.


The Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion: Citizenship and Voting Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina


By Jelena Dzankic, International Peacekeeping, November 2015

This article uses the lenses of citizenship to examine the uneven distribution of voting rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). While recognizing the significance of power-sharing in BiH, the article argues that the key obstacle to modifying the politics of inclusion and exclusion through citizenship and the franchise is the static nature of political competition in the country. The intimate relationship between political parties and their ethno-centric agendas on the one hand, and the multi-tiered governance structure on the other, prevents the possibility of reaching an agreement on constitutional reform as it would disrupt the current power balances that favour ethnic elites.


Conceptualizing and Measuring Citizenship and Integration Policy Past Lessons and New Approaches


By Sara Wallace Goodman, Comparative Political Studies, July 2015

Research on immigration and citizenship has become one of the fastest growing areas in political science, with one trend being the boon of comparative citizenship and immigration policy indices. This article discusses methodological concerns with this enterprise. The first half addresses issues with policy indices, including (a) concept validity and boundary maintenance and (b) measurement, compensability, and aggregate index use. The second half examines why these problems matter in hypothesis testing and for inference by replicating three policy index–using studies, rerunning analyses with different indices to test consistency of findings. These tests underscore a central finding: What scholars know about the effects of immigration and citizenship policy is subject to data and sample selection. The article concludes with a number of recommendations and strategies for moving forward. These approaches will not only strengthen this growing research agenda but also mainstream migrant-related policy studies into larger literatures in comparative politics.


Migration, Citizenship and Post National Membership


By Jelena Dzankic, Routledge Handbook of Immigration and Refugee Studies, edited by Anna Triandafyllidou, 2015

This chapter explores how international migration has reconceptualised the notion of membership, in that the demos nowadays is no longer confined to the territorial borders of nation-states. Rather, it stretches beyond them, through a cobweb of transnational networks created by individuals belonging to several polities. Citizenship, as an articulation of this belonging, moves in a direction that will eventually allow individuals to draw membership rights from multiple polities, and international human rights institutions.