E.g., 03/04/2024
E.g., 03/04/2024
Stakeholder Citizenship: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?
April 2008

Stakeholder Citizenship: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Democracy is government accountable to its citizens, and states are territorial jurisdictions. International migration creates a tension between these two basic facts about our world because it produces citizens living outside the country whose government is supposed to be accountable to them and inside a country whose government is not accountable to them. The result is a mismatch between citizenship and the territorial scope of legitimate political authority.

But times have changed. Citizenship policies, which used to be fairly stable and supported by cross-party consensus in many countries, have become thoroughly politicized and volatile. In immigrant-receiving democracies, citizenship policies are now driven by anxieties over security risks and failed integration of newcomers, while a growing number of sending countries are actively reaching out to their expatriates by offering them dual citizenship and absentee-voting rights.

The new emphasis on citizenship as a shared core identity in democratic polities should be welcomed. It adds an important political dimension to past debates about the economic and cultural impacts of migration. However, the interests and ideologies that drive current public concerns are often extremely myopic in three ways: they do not rely on principles that take into account all interests affected; they do not look across borders; and they disregard the counterproductive effects of the policies advocated.

This paper addresses such deficits by proposing a stakeholder principle that should guide citizenship policies in Europe and North America. This principle applies to both immigrants and emigrants. Stakeholders in this sense are those who have a stake in the polity’s future because of the circumstances of their lives.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Defining Democratic Citizenship

III. A Human Right to Citizenship

IV. The Stakeholder Principle of Citizenship

V. Citizenship and Global Justice

VI. Acquiring Citizenship at Birth

VII. Testing for Citizenship: Europe’s Problematic Approach to Naturalization

VIII. Why Denizenship Cannot Replace Citizenship

IX. Prospects for Stakeholder Citizenship