Transnational Citizenship and the Democratic State: On Modes of Membership and Rights of Political Participation

Authored by: David Owen

The Ashgate Research Companion to Migration Law, Theory and Policy

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754671886
eBook ISBN: 9781315613239
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042648


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The past 30 years have seen dramatic changes to the character of state membership regimes in which practices of easing access to membership for resident non-citizens, extending the franchise to expatriate citizens as well as, albeit in typically more limited ways, to resident non-citizens and an increasing toleration of dual nationality have become widespread. 1 1

For recent overviews of these changes and the reasons for them see Baubock (2003, 2005), Joppke (2010), and chapter 6 (of which I was lead author) in Stoker et al. (2011).

These processes of democratic inclusion, while variously motivated, represent an important trend in the contemporary political order in which we can discern two distinct shifts. The first concerns membership as a status and is characterized in terms of the movement from a simple distinction between single-nationality citizens and single-nationality aliens to a more complex structure of state membership in which we now find, most prominently, two transnational figures:

Dual (or plural) nationals who are legally recognized as citizens by two or more independent polities.

(Non-stateless) Denizens who, as long-term resident foreign nationals in one polity, enjoy ‘most of the civil liberties and social welfare rights of resident citizens, often including rights to family reunification, some protection from deportation, and voting rights in local elections, as well as quasi-entitlements to naturalization’, and, as longterm non-resident citizens of another polity, enjoy external citizenship rights (that is, the right to return and the right to diplomatic protection) and may retain some voting rights. (Baubock, 2007: 2395–6) 2 2

For a clear analytical specification, see Baubock (2007).

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