Global Policy Forum

Comparative Citizenship:


By Christian Joppke

Law & Ethics of Human Rights
July 9, 2008


In the rapidly growing literature on comparative citizenship, a dominant assumption is that the nationality laws in Western states are converging on liberal norms of equality and inclusiveness. However, especially since the onset of the new millennium and an apparent failure of integrating Muslim immigrants there has been a remarkable counter-trend toward more restrictiveness. This paper reviews the causes and features of restrictiveness in the heartland of previous liberalization, north-west Europe. It is argued that even where it seems to be strongest: with respect to the rules of naturalization, the restrictive trend is embedded within an overall liberal, sometimes even liberalizing framework. The notion of a wholesale "restrictive turn in Europe" therefore has to be rejected.

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