E.g., 04/18/2014
E.g., 04/18/2014

A New Citizenship Bargain for the Age of Mobility? Citizenship Requirements in Europe and North America

Policy Briefs
April 2008

A New Citizenship Bargain for the Age of Mobility? Citizenship Requirements in Europe and North America

Citizenship has multiple meanings. For some, it requires the possession of a national passport. For others, it is a “practice” involving multiple forms of political participation: street protests, mail-in campaigns, and other forms of direct action that demand the recognition of particular interests. For still others, it is a normative question of how people should acquire citizenship and what it should give them. If there is a danger in the current scholarly literature, it is palpably not that there is too little interest in citizenship; rather, that there is too much, and the content of the concept will be stretched to the point where it is almost meaningless.

For the purposes of this overview, citizenship is understood in a restricted legal sense: the acquisition of a national passport and therefore the full range of rights that are available only to citizens. On this narrower question, there is much less scholarly work. This policy brief does not attempt to provide a comprehensive account of the causes of recent changes in citizenship policy. Nor does it directly address overly abstract questions of what citizenship should look like according to theories of justice. Rather, it looks at how different citizenship policies produce different integration outcomes. The appropriate policy, therefore, depends directly on what policymakers want to achieve.

In this policy brief, integration is understood in civic and socioeconomic rather than cultural terms. Integration, in our definition, has three pillars: (1) Eliminating the gap between an immigrant/ethnic minority population’s economic and educational outcomes and those of the overall population; (2) ensuring that all migrant groups respect a common legal framework; and (3) ensuring that the segregation of such groups in any particular sphere is voluntary rather than coerced.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Empirical Overview

III. Recent Changes in Citizenship Policies

IV. The Effects of Policy Changes on Integration

V. Conclusion and Policy Recommendations