Affective Naturalization: Practices of Citizenship Conferment

In an era of increased mobility, naturalisation is crucial for shaping international legal and political identities. It is therefore important to move beyond the legal definition of naturalisation in order to comprehend its affective and social meaning. This article develops the notion “affective naturalisation” by combining the literature of affect and politics with insights from economic anthropology and by focusing on the varied practices of citizenship conferment. Through different modes of naturalisation, citizenship can be offered as a gift, it can take the form of a birthright, it may be obtained as a prize that one has achieved, and it can occasionally be bought. The specific practice of conferment changes the identity of the citizenship/“thing” that is being acquired, the roles of the giver and the receiver as well as the interrelation between them. The different practices of conferment thus reflect as well as constitute social relations in differing ways.

Sara Kalm, Affective Naturalization: Practices of Citizenship Conferment, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, 2019.