Citizenship in Question

Evidentiary Birthright and Statelessness

Book Pages: 312 Illustrations: Published: February 2017

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Law > Human Rights, Politics > Political Science

Citizenship is often assumed to be a clear-cut issue—either one has it or one does not. However, as the contributors to Citizenship in Question demonstrate, citizenship is not self-evident; it emerges from often obscure written records and is interpreted through ambiguous and dynamic laws. In case studies that analyze the legal barriers to citizenship rights in over twenty countries, the contributors explore how states use evidentiary requirements to create and police citizenship, often based on fictions of racial, ethnic, class, and religious differences. Whether examining the United States’ deportation of its own citizens, the selective use of DNA tests and secret results in Thailand, or laws that have stripped entire populations of citizenship, the contributors emphasize the political, psychological, and personal impact of citizenship policies. Citizenship in Question incites scholars to revisit long-standing political theories and debates about nationality, free movement, and immigration premised on the assumption of clear demarcations between citizens and noncitizens.
Contributors. Alfred Babo, Jacqueline Bhabha, Jacqueline Field, Amanda Flaim, Sara L. Friedman, Daniel Kanstroom, Benjamin N. Lawrance, Beatrice McKenzie, Polly J. Price, Rachel E. Rosenbloom, Kim Rubenstein, Kamal Sadiq, Jacqueline Stevens, Margaret D. Stock


"This is one of those books that you wish you could get everyone to read. ... For classes that focus on questions of global migration, political belonging and exclusion, and the powers of the State, this book is a useful resource. Rich in historical facts that help explain how we have reached a point where citizenship often overshadows humanity, Citizenship in Question will be a valuable addition for a required reading list or a personal library. Essential."
  — M. Lecea, Choice

"[A] remarkable contribution that both adds to scholarship on citizenship and challenges some of the inherent assumptions that underpin citizenship studies. ... This sophisticated and wide-ranging volume is essential reading for not only those interested in citizenship, bureaucracy and the state, but also for a wider, non-academic audience." — Kalathmika Natarajan, LSE Review of Books

“The case studies in this volume present a significant human rights challenge. . . . Citizenship allocations may seem as neatly drawn as lines on the map of the world. As this volume demonstrates, there are many contexts in which they are hardly that.” — Peter J. Spiro, Perspectives on Politics

"Powerful. . . . The contributing authors show through numerous examples how citizenship is not self-evident, nor can it be inferred from documents alone, which is another fundamental paradox to citizenship." — Sue-Je Lee Gage, PoLAR

"Essential reading for academics in citizenship law, but also a broader audience grappling with what citizenship and belonging mean in a modern world." — Susi Foerschler, Border Criminologies

"The analysis across the chapters provides an important contribution to debates not only on citizenship, but on race (and race-making), nationalism, statecraft, and political theory, law and history more broadly." — Luke de Noronha, Ethnic and Racial Studies

"Writing on citizenship tends to take the legal status of citizens for granted.  But what happens when a government refuses to recognize its own citizens? Citizenship in Question uniquely probes how citizenship status has been challenged by various levels of government and the dire consequences that can ensue. Presenting a great deal of new and little-known material, this volume is the first of its kind." — Leti Volpp, Robert D. and Leslie Kay Raven Professor of Law in Access to Justice, University of California, Berkeley

"By focusing on the difficulties citizens can face in proving that they are, in fact, citizens, as well as the frightening consequences that flow from these difficulties, the contributors to this volume offer a disturbing analysis of the precariousness of modern citizenship. Citizenship in Question is one of the most original and important books on citizenship in years." — Matthew J. Gibney, author of The Ethics and Politics of Asylum: Liberal Democracy and the Response to Refugees


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Benjamin N. Lawrance is Hon. Barber B. Conable Jr. Endowed Professor of International Studies and Professor of History and Anthropology at Rochester Institute of Technology and the author of Amistad's Orphans: An Atlantic Story of Children, Slavery, and Smuggling.

Jacqueline Stevens is Professor of Political Science and founding director of the Deportation Research Clinic in the Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University and the author of States without Nations: Citizenship for Mortals.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface: Ace's Story  ix

Acknowledgments  xv

Introduction / Jacqueline Stevens  1

Part I. International and Regional Protocols: Citizenship and Statelessness Protocols

1. Jus Soli and Statelessness: A Comparative Perspective from the Americas / Polly J. Price  27

2. The Politics of Evidence: Roma Citizenship Deficits in Europe / Jacqueline Bhabha  43

3. Statelessness-in-Question: Expert Testimony and the Evidentiary Burden of Statelessness / Benjamin N. Lawrance  60

4. Reproducing Uncertainty: Documenting Contested Sovereignty and Citizenship across the Taiwan Strait / Sara L. Friedman  81

5. What is a "Real" Australian Citizen?: Insights from Papua New Guinea and Mr. Amos Ame / Kim Rubenstein with Jacqueline Field  100

Part II. Official or Administrative Acts

6. To Know a Citizen: Birthright Citizenship Documents Regimes in U.S. History / Beatrice McKenzie  117

7. From the Outside Looking In: U.S. Passports in the Borderlands / Rachel E. Rosenbloom  132

8. Problems of Evidence, Evidence of Problems: Expanding Citizenship and Reproducing Statelessness among Highlanders in Northern Thailand / Amanda Flaim  147

9. Limits of Legal Citizenship: Narratives from South and Southeast Asia / Kamal Sadiq  165

Part III. Legislatures and Court Disputes

10. American Birthright Citizenship Rules and the Exclusion of "Outsiders" from the Political Community / Margaret D. Stock  179

11. Ivoirité and Citizenship in Ivory Coast: The Controversial Policy of Authenticity / Alfred Babo  200

12. The Alien Who Is a Citizen / Jacqueline Stevens  217

Afterword / Daniel Kanstroom  240

References  247

Contributors  275

Index  279
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6291-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6280-7
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