Nation v. State: Constitutionalizing Transnational Nationhood, Creating Ethnizens, and Engaging with Kin-Foreigners in Europe and Asia

In the interstices of international law, quite a number of states have developed strategies to reach out to and engage with their diasporic populations or ethnonational kin outside of their borders who are not their citizens but citizens of the state in which they habitually reside. Some states even provide for that kind of policy in their Constitutions. Some states grant preferential treatment and special rights to “kin-foreigners,” thereby creating “ethnizens.” This article canvasses provisions in national Constitutions in Europe and Asia that provide grounds for engaging with the members of the nation outside of the state, analyzes the modes of engagement—mainly ethnizenship practices and various ways to strengthen links with diasporas—and examines the rules of engagement. It shows that the international norm has not provided effective guidelines regarding the strategies of transnational nation-building beyond the personal boundaries of the state and concludes that the decoupling the nation from the state registered by the transnational nationhood strategies falls short of constituting a departure from the logic of the Westphalian nation-state.

Chulwoo Lee, Nation v. State: Constitutionalizing Transnational Nationhood, Creating Ethnizens, and Engaging with Kin-Foreigners in Europe and Asia, Asian Journal of Law and Society, 2020.

This article has been presented at the GLOBALCIT dialogue on ‘Legal Forms of Diaspora Engagement and Kin-State Politics‘ (2019).