The Jurisprudence Lecture, delivered by Ayelet Shachar, challenges the established dichotomy between open and closed borders, showing that one of the most remarkable developments of recent years is that borders are simultaneously both more open and more closed. Membership boundaries are not fixed or static. Instead, they expand or shrink, selectively and strategically, depending on the target populations they encounter. Moving beyond the open-closed binary, Shachar conceptualises a far more dynamic, multifaceted, and kaleidoscopic process, which we might call the grand transformation of citizenship. Drawing on a rich set of comparative examples, this article explores three intersecting yet analytically distinct dimensions of the realignment of citizenship: the territorial, the cultural, and the economic. This framework of analysis highlights the interconnected facets driving this transformation, and considers the puzzles that emerge when we think about them in tandem. The moving parts that together comprise this transformation generate novel strategic possibilities for the state, which in turn creates new latitudes for the few and new restrictions for the many. Shachar’s goal, ambitious from the start, is to engage in theory-building by articulating the form and function of each of these facets of transformation. The author further demonstrates how their variable combinations intermingle to police and restrict (or alternatively, relax and facilitate) access to membership in a globalising world, determining who may overcome the odds in the birthright lottery.
Ayelet Shachar, Beyond open and closed borders: the grand transformation of citizenship, Jurisprudence, 2020.