Citizenship, nationality and belonging
In a world of increasing mobility and global connections, citizenship continues to be one of the most important political issues of our time. From classical theories to contemporary lived experiences, the boundaries between citizens and non-citizens have shifted, constituting new spaces, new politics, and new ways of understanding the fabric of society. The meaning of citizenship is fast evolving and its political importance has never been greater.
In this issue, we look at the politics of becoming a citizen or staying a foreigner; and the ways of crafting and navigating the ties of belonging to a diaspora, a migrant community, and a receiving society. We also examine two new policies that raise many critical voices: laws enabling the revocation of citizenship, and programmes that sell citizenship to investors. This issue offers an insight into two particular settings where the dynamics of belonging are rearranged and reshuffled: an aircraft cabin, and a small town in the Basque mountains. We delve into citizenship regimes in Turkey, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates, and their implications for naturalisation policies and access to rights and economic benefits. In every context, citizenship, legal status and belonging are disputed arenas, where governments, nationals and residents do not always see eye to eye.
'They are too many to naturalise': How citizenship debates politicise Syrians
Emotions in transit: Contemplating belonging in the aeroplane
Revocation of citizenship: The construction of boundaries between citizens
Investor citizenship and the public charge rule: What do they mean for Americans?
Locating citizenship: Pakistani immigrants in Oñati, Basque Country
Kurdish diaspora politics in Birmingham
Citizenship in the United Arab Emirates: A spectrum of categories
A Short Film: The Classroom as an Analogy of a Fearful Society
In the messy world of migration politics, art has the power to stir debate, promote action and open our imaginations to new political possibilities. Borrowing its title from James Scott's seminal book, his monographic issue focuses on forms of art that allow us to see migration ‘like a poet’: revealing the emotions and tensions inherent to both the migrant condition and the ways in which migration is understood and acted upon. Read more here.
With the media dominated by popular narratives of migration crises, it is easy to focus on the here and now of migration and lose track of context, especially the historical one. This risks reinforcing the notion of the exceptionalism of the current situation and discourses that overestimate the impact and the scale of the issue; yet migration is far from being a new phenomenon. This issue looks beyond the current headlines to how migration and mobility have been present throughout history. Here, we put the migration stories of today into the context of the past, highlighting similarities and differences, bringing to light forgotten stories, and showing how our ‘today’ is influenced by the ‘todays’ of the past. Read more here.
Across the world human-induced climate change is transforming the planet’s environments and ecosystems and affecting migratory movements of people and animals. At the same time, migratory movements can transform local environments by putting pressure on finite resources and exacerbating the conditions for environmental damage. In this context, the phenomenon of ‘climate refugees’ has emerged prominently among other forms of mobility. Politics has also taken on transnational dimensions with social movements mobilising between continents calling on their respective governments to do more to reduce fossil-fuel dependency. Read more here.
While migration is often synonymous with movement, in reality, many people ‘on the move’ struggle to realise their aspirations and remain stuck. When movement is not an option, migration creates spaces of immobility filled with tensions, resignation, suffering, struggles and waiting. These include makeshift camps, processing centres, jails, workhouses and boats stuck in ports. In turn, people use their agency to reshape these and other immobile spaces that emerge in the process of migration. Read more here.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, adopted in December 2018, became a milestone in the history of migration politics. It represents an effort to ‘regularise’ migration, which has been lauded by many members of the international community. At the same time, it has provoked an unprecedented level of far-right populist backlash, causing many states to withdraw from the agreement. Read more here.
In our first issue, we question existing perceptions of migration as a binary choice between roots and routes: staying and moving, belonging and leaving, being stuck and running free. Are we humans really faced with such a dilemma? How do politics, markets, and cultures create it and reshape it? What are its consequences over people's lives, and how do migrants think of themselves in the light of it? What alternative ideas are emerging? Read more here.