Genuine links and useful passports: evaluating strategic uses of citizenship

Liberal citizenship is shaped by the legacies of Athens (democracy) and Rome (legal rights) but operates within a Westphalian framework where citizenship serves to assign mutually recognised responsibilities for individuals to states. I argue that this Westphalian dimension requires that the rules for determining citizenship reflect genuine links between individuals and states and explain why birthright principles and toleration of multiple citizenship are compatible with a genuine link conception. In this conception, citizenship has both instrumental and identity value. The paper argues that liberal trends in citizenship reform generally weaken instrumental incentives for naturalisation. These effects are, however, counterbalanced by enhanced opportunities and interests in mobility rights that strengthen instrumental interests in multiple citizenship among immigrants, among populations in less developed countries and among wealthy elites. Only the latter two trends can potentially undermine a genuine link norm and, if they prevail, replace the Westphalian allocation of citizenship with a global market. I see little evidence that this is going to happen any time soon.

Publication details and link to source: Rainer Bauböck, Genuine links and useful passports: evaluating strategic uses of citizenship, JEMS, 2018

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