Citizenship laws and policies form a resilient core of state sovereignty. International legal norms have emerged to avoid conflicts between states and to secure basic human rights in matters of nationality law. Yet states have remained largely free to choose their own rules for determining who are their citizens by birth or naturalisation and under which conditions citizenship can be lost through renunciation or withdrawal. Even within the European Union, whose supranational citizenship is derived from Member State nationality, there has been no effort to harmonize national citizenship laws.
Yet state sovereignty in this matter does not mean that state policies are not influenced by what other states are doing and by migration flows across international borders. The comparative literature on citizenship has so far focused nearly exclusively on domestic drivers of citizenship policy and reform, including historic conditions for nation-building and the domestic politics of citizenship in which left-wing and right-wing parties have contrasting ideological commitments and are incentivized by different electoral interests. While domestic factors clearly matter, they are insufficient for understanding how citizenship policies evolve over time. Historical institutionalist explanations have also led to an unwarranted assumption that citizenship regimes can be compared as internally coherent national models. Such models are based on either ethnic or civic normative conceptions of membership and can be described by a few selected indicators, such as the predominance of ius sanguinis or ius soli provisions. The strong focus on domestic explanations for national citizenship models can be regarded as a manifestation of methodological nationalism in the social sciences, but it is also due to a lack of available data that would allow systematically comparing particular regulations of the acquisition and loss of citizenship across large numbers of states.
GLOBALCIT, the successor of EUDO Citizenship since 2017, addresses the need to understand the varieties of citizenship laws and policies in a globalised world. It relies on a large international network of country experts who write country reports, collect legal documents and provide input for our comparative databases. GLOBALCIT publishes qualitative databases on modes of acquisition and loss of citizenship with nearly fully global coverage, as well as quantitative indicators on citizenship status and electoral rights. Our updated and expanded CITLAW datasets cover nearly all modes of citizenship acquisition and loss in 42 European countries for 2011 and 2016; our 2016 CITLAW birthright dataset provides comparative and user-friendly data on the acquisition of citizenship at birth.
Celebrating our continuous geographical and thematic expansion, discussing new findings and insights, and evolving research agendas, this workshop explores (a) patterns of variation and clustering among countries with regard to their citizenship regimes and (b) global trends in citizenship reform and diffusion processes of citizenship policies. It focuses on birthright, naturalisation and e-citizenship. Papers will offer explanatory hypotheses, interpretive accounts or normative evaluations about convergence, domestic policy reforms and progressive development of international legal norms in matters of nationality law.
In his 2013 book The Future as Cultural Fact, Arjun Appadurai was writing that we need to understand better the interactions between three notable human preoccupations: imagination, anticipation, and aspiration. Appadurai pointed out that the capacities to aspire, anticipate and imagine are recognizably universal but culturally defined; they take their force within local systems of value and meaning. In exercising our capacities to imagine, anticipate and aspire, Appadurai argues that we need to adopt an ethics of possibility (of building a better, more equitable world for ourselves and our children) against an ethics of probability (of risk, disaster and privately created security). Thinking about the future of Europe today one wonders what is the balance of forces between a transnational ethics of possibility (and responsibility) and a national or regional ethics of probability. This workshop will critically discuss how the concepts outlined above have played out in recent European crises (the Eurozone crisis, the refugee emergency) and how they can help us rethink the future of Europe.
Arjun Appadurai is the Goddard Professor in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, where he is also Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge. He serves as Honorary Professor in the Department of Media and Communication, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Tata Chair Professor at The Tata Institute for Social Sciences, Mumbai and as a Senior Research Partner at the Max-Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Gottingen. Appadurai is world renowned expert on the cultural dynamics of globalization, having authored numerous books and scholarly articles. The nature and significance of his contributions throughout his academic career have earned him the reputation as a leading figure in his field.