This paper argues that conceptualizing Western state citizenship from the vantage point of advancing liberalism is insufficient. Instead, recently restrictive trends may be summarized under the umbrella of earned citizenship. Conceived of as privilege not right, this is a citizenship that is simultaneously more difficult to get and easier to lose, and it inheres elements of neoliberalism and of nationalism in tandem. One could even call it an instance of neoliberal nationalism, which is neither ethnic nor civic but including on the basis of merit and desert. The rise of earned citizenship is a convergent trend across Western Europe and the classic immigrant nations of North America and Australia.
Christian Joppke, Earned Citizenship, European Journal of Sociology, 2021.