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Recent publications on citizenship laws and policies


Calling for the Super Citizen: Citizenship ceremonies in the UK and Germany as techniques of subject-formation

By Elisabeth Badenhoop, Migration Studies, 2017

Migration and citizenship studies tend to conceive of naturalization and of citizenship ceremonies as highly ambivalent procedures. They simultaneously include and exclude migrants by granting full membership to certain migrants while separating them from national-born and other migrant citizens. Yet, existing studies with their focus on the inclusion/exclusion divide tend to overlook another key dimension of citizenship ceremonies. I argue that citizenship ceremonies should be understood as techniques of subject-formation that aim at the modification and optimization of the self-understanding and behaviour of newly-naturalized citizens by confronting them with specific expectations. Based on a Critical Discourse Analysis of ceremony speeches observed in four locations in the United Kingdom and in Germany, this article demonstrates that local state representatives encourage naturalized citizens to transform themselves to become a political, economic and cultural asset to the nation-state. In other words, ceremony speakers suggest that naturalized citizens adopt a specific kind of subjectivity which I term—in allusion to its overstraining character—the Super Citizen. My analysis shows that, although the speech is the least regulated element in both the British and the German ceremonies, the subjectivity of the Super Citizen crosses regional and national borders as speakers in all four locations engaged in the call for the Super Citizen. This finding not only questions the predominant categorization in the literature of the UK and Germany as representing ‘civic’ versus ‘ethnic’ models of citizenship. It also points to the transnational prevalence of neo-liberal and neo-national discourses in which the Super Citizen subjectivity is deeply entangled.

Details at the journal’s website.


The Global State of Democracy. Exploring Democracy’s Resilience. Chapter 7: Migration, social polarization, citizenship and multiculturalism

By International IDEA, 2017

Against this backdrop, this publication analyses global and regional democracy trends and challenges based on International IDEA’s newly developed Global State of Democracy (GSoD) indices, which capture global and regional democratic trends between 1975 and 2015. In an effort to bridge the gap between academic research, policy development and democracy assistance initiatives, it offers recommendations and problem-solving approaches to support democratic reform, and to inform policymakers and democracy practitioners worldwide. This first edition explores democracy’s resilience based on a detailed analysis of the impact of the process of democratic backsliding on the quality of democracy as well as key challenges to democracy such as the crisis of representation, the increasing influence of money in politics, rising inequalities, migration and democratic transitions in the wake of conflict.

Download publication here.





Theorising the power of citizenship as claims-making

By Irene Bloemraad, JEMS, 2017

I advance a conceptual approach to citizenship as membership through claims-making. In this approach, citizenship is a relational process of making membership claims on polities, people and institutions, claims recognized or rejected within particular normative understandings of citizenship. Such a conceptual shift moves scholarship beyond typologizing—enumerating how citizenship is (or is not) about status, rights, participation and identity—to identifying the mechanisms through which claims on citizenship have power. This framework requires a relational approach and attention to dynamics of recognition within contexts of structured agency. Immigrants and their children can make claims to modify the normative content of citizenship, affect recognition evaluations and change the allocation of status and rights. But they are also constrained by legal structures, a society's institutional practices, and prevailing public perceptions. Citizenship as claims-making may require a reassessment of boundary approaches and a turn to metaphors of positionality, as well as more serious commitment to mixed-methods research. The stakes of understanding citizenship's power, as practice and status, are especially high right now. Yet based on existing scholarship, it is not entirely clear how much citizenship matters, in what ways, for whom, or why. This is the challenge for future scholarship.

Details at the journal’s website.


Descent, birthplace and residence: Aligning principles of citizenship with realities of migrant transnationalism

By Marta Bivand Erdal and Tove Heggli Sagmo, Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography, 2017

The article presents a theoretical argument for aligning principles of citizenship with realities of migrant transnationalism and dual citizenship. Migrant transnationalism and dual citizenship challenge zero-sum understandings of belonging and residence as rooted in one place only. Through the lens of residence, the authors connect insights from migrant transnationalism literature with citizenship studies’ focus on principles of citizenship. Principles of citizenship based on descent and birthplace build on particular genealogies of belonging that define membership, and are the basis on which citizenship is granted. Neither of the two principles provides adequate answers to how naturalisation, in terms of belonging to the political community, can be justified as anything other than exceptions. Jus domicili offers a complementary alternative, wherein belonging is connected to residence, thus moving naturalisation out of the realm of exceptions. A configuration of principles of citizenship that is aligned with realities of migrant transnationalism and dual citizenship must build on complementary genealogies of belonging, including descent, birthplace and residence. Doing so requires acknowledging differing temporalities of belonging. A legal framework that strengthens the potential for realising equal citizenship in diverse societies necessitates a rejection of the hierarchies reflected in genealogies of belonging that underlie citizenship principles.

Details at the journal’s website.


The "Enemy Within": Citizenship-Stripping in the Post–Arab Spring GCC

By Zahra Babar, The Middle East Journal, 2017

This article reviews the impact of the Arab Spring on citizenship rights throughout the Gulf states, drawing on both internal and external dimensions of security that have become inextricably linked with notions of who has the right to maintain their citizenship. In particular, the article focuses on the phenomenon of citizenship revocation as a mode of disciplining behavior considered to be inconsistent with established norms of state-citizen relations in this region.

Details at the journal’s website.