Transformation of Citizenship

Conference at the University of Graz, Austria, from the 20-21 November 2018.

In recent years, we witnessed key transformations of citizenship. Already in the 1990s, some argued that the importance of citizenship as legal status would diminish as the sphere of human rights widens. The compression of space-time renders citizenship increasingly meaningless as a form of identification and boundaries – of states, political communities, and the self – blurred and fluid. With globalization and transnational governance regimes abounding, the increasing enmeshment of citizenship in processes of governance, e.g. to attract high-skilled migrants, suggests that mobility, not belonging, is the key element. As such, citizenship may have lost in significance. Yet, at the same time, we see that citizenship still is the predominant institution that reflects global inequality and in which discourses on otherness unfold. The ‘right’ citizenship still largely defines the opportunities of a person under a domestic and global perspective. One could say that while the boundaries of states dwindle in terms of institutional integration, multidirectional dependence, or technological progress, states increase their boundaries in terms of raising the symbolic value of citizenship. It is this juxtaposition and tension inherent in the concept of citizenship today, which this conference seeks to illuminate, elucidate and review in an effort to understand the processes responsible for the changes.

We welcome either individual contributions from young scholars (post-docs or advanced PhD candidates) as well as experienced scholars that look at current transformations of citizenship related to one of the following streams.

New Institutions and Citizenship | Stream I

In this panel, we will address how new trends brought about by globalization affect citizenship. If the background concepts in international law, such as territory and sovereignty, undergo radical transformation, how does this transform citizenship? Which benefits and challenges are presented by dual or multi-level citizenships, such as EU citizenship? How do ‘investment’ visas and citizenship regimes geared towards attracting 'high-skilled' labor change the meaning of citizenship? What added value do citizenship rights still hold in light of bilateral investment treaties, which protect foreign investors in ways domestic ones are not protected? If non-citizens are permitted ‘traditional’ citizen rights and duties, such as voting or jury duty, what does this say about the ‘value’ attributed to citizenship?

Union Citizenship | Stream II

Union citizenship has been defined by the ECJ as the “fundamental status of nationals of the Member States, enabling those who find themselves in the same situation to enjoy the same treatment in law.” Despite its aspirational tune for a potential emanation of European civitas, it has helped little to understand what the status is all about in legal terms. Is Union citizenship a status in its own right, or just a complementary over-layer on national citizenship? In the same vein, the issue of whether the rights and duties that are attached to or rather enshrined in the status of Union citizenship are genuine or derivative in nature has remained a source of prolonged conundrum. Finally, this panel asks to shed light on the question whether the status of Union citizenship is a ‘purely’ internal concept or indeed carries weight on the international law plane.

The ‘Anti-Citizens’: The Right to Citizenship and Imposition of Expatriation | Stream III

In this panel, we seek to address dynamics of the boundaries of citizenship, i.e. access to and expatriation from citizenship. Whereas through much of the 20th century citizenship was considered to be within states’ domaine reservée, international human rights law, in particular, contributed to an increasing internationalization of citizenship. In which way do expatriation or the exclusion from access to citizenship raise legal and/or normative issues under human rights law? Conversely, are there circumstances, such as terrorist activities, for which states forcibly expatriate their own citizens? Is such action legitimate in a democratic society? What of expatriation upon obtaining a second citizenship - is this still compatible with the modern human/individual rights oriented approaches? Is statelessness to be considered under a human rights lens?

Unauthorized Migration and Citizenship | Stream IV

This panel will address questions of how unauthorized migration influences citizenship: How and in which ways is the citizen conceptually related to the unauthorized migrant? In what way is citizenship part of the processes of governing unauthorized migration? Do rules designed to keep out ‘unwanted’ migrants impact the rights and benefits of citizens? How do current trends and political developments in migration control contribute to the changing landscape relating to citizenship and naturalization laws?

Belonging, Identity, and Community | Stream V

In this panel, we will consider the boundary issues of citizenship. In recent times greater weight is placed on newcomers to conform to preconceived ideas of who belongs, such as increased integration requirements for obtaining citizenship. How does the concept of the ‘other’ define the boundaries of who is a citizen, if it does so in the first place? If cultures are “in-between”, and the self and its identity split, how to approach the concept of citizenship theoretically beyond a conceptual binary? What of persons whose identity does not match their citizenship status (i.e. those who grew up in a community yet lack the status, or those who have the status but do not identify with the majority culture, e.g. minorities)? Is citizenship solely to be equated to belonging in a political community? If not, how do social, economic, and cultural aspects play part?

Submission of Abstracts

Submissions of abstracts of no more than 500 words describing your presentation should be sent together with a short bio no later than 1 July 2018 to conference.citizenship(at)uni-graz(dot)at. Accepted participants will be notified by 15 July 2018. A camera-ready version of the paper has to be submitted by 31 October 2018.

Location and Dates

The conference will take place 20-21 November 2018 at the Faculty of Law of the University of Graz. The exact schedule will be provided in due time.

Limited financial contributions to travel expenses are available and foreseen for scholars without other sources at hand. Please indicate when submitting the abstract whether you are applying for financial support. Please note that applying for travel grants has no influence on the selection process!

Call for Papers: (PDF).