The article accounts for the puzzling stability of citizenship regimes in Italy and Spain relying on the explanatory power of ideas. This is done by drawing upon a methodology combining process tracing methods with qualitative content analysis. In both countries ideational factors prove to be crucial in driving the evolution of nationality laws; however, according to distinct logic. In Spain it is the agreement, the sharing of a dominant citizenship conception across parties, that ensures policy continuity. When the Spanish legislator wonders about state’s intergenerational continuity, it does so by looking at the diaspora and its progenies, overlooking foreigners settled in the country. Contrariwise, in Italy it is the lack of agreement that ensures institutional stability. Beneath the Italian citizenship debate lies a heterogeneous political imaginary where different views quarrel over the way to adapt the actual system to the new immigration reality. These evidences speak to the broader debate in Political Science on the role of ideas in public policymaking.
Francesco Pasetti, The politics and policies of citizenship in Italy and Spain, an ideational account, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2019.