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Naturalisation policies beyond a Western focus


  • Tobias Schwarz

    () (Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne, Germany)


Naturalisations do not happen automatically – unlike the acquisition of nationality at birth – but must be brought about deliberately. The varying ways naturalisations are organized in any society therefore offer an opportunity to gain clues as to which criteria are assumed to be relevant for the respective definition of national belonging. This introduction argues that most research on naturalisation still focusses on Western states, and that theories of naturalisation are largely derived from Western cases. It describes the ethnocentric bias of much of the universalizing comparative research on naturalisations, and outlines the main reasons for the lack of research beyond the West. It then presents the articles on naturalisation policies in the Global South brought together in this special issue. The contributions analyse ethnically exclusive nationality laws in Liberia and Israel; selective two-tier regimes of immigrant incorporation in Hong Kong and Singapore; investor citizenship schemes which are much more common in the Global South than in the North, exemplified by the case of Mauritius; and Mexico, whose norms assign naturalised Mexicans the status of “second-class citizens”.

Suggested Citation

  • Tobias Schwarz, 2016. "Naturalisation policies beyond a Western focus," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 13(1), pages 1-15, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:journl:v:13:y:2016:i:1:p:1-15

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthew J. Gibney, 2013. "‘A Very Transcendental Power’: Denaturalisation and the Liberalisation of Citizenship in the United Kingdom," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 61(3), pages 637-655, October.
    2. Thomas Huddleston, 2013. "The naturalisation procedure: measuring the ordinary obstacles and opportunities for immigrants to become citizens," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers p0370, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    3. Bashford, Alison, 2014. "Immigration restriction: rethinking period and place from settler colonies to postcolonial nations," Journal of Global History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 26-48, March.
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