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Join Eleanor Knott exploring the evolving nature of citizenship in post-Communist Europe
Scholarship has long examined the construction of membership in democratic societies, often associating open and expansive citizenship with democracy, inclusion, and pluralism. This paper delves into the less-explored trajectories of citizenship policies in post-Communist Europe, amidst expanding illiberalism and democratic decline. How do citizenship policies respond to democratisation or democratic decline? Do they, and if so when, become more inclusive or more restrictive? Using an original dataset (1990-2021), first, the paper categorises citizenship acquisition and loss into four types: desired insiders, desired outsiders, undesired insiders, and undesired outsiders. Second, it observes limited change to citizenship regimes overall. Third, it finds that during democratisation citizenship regimes may, in fact, become more exclusionary. Conversely, the papers finds some evidence that citizenship regimes become more inclusionary during periods of democratic decline. The findings reveal the resilience of citizenship regimes to democratic change in either direction, on the one hand, and their change in unexpected and counterintuitive ways, on the other hand.