1st Edition

When States Take Rights Back Citizenship Revocation and Its Discontents

Edited By Émilien Fargues, Elke Winter, Matthew J Gibney Copyright 2020
    140 Pages
    by Routledge

    140 Pages
    by Routledge

    When States Take Rights Back draws on contributions by international experts in history, law, political science, and sociology, offering a rare interdisciplinary and comparative examination of citizenship revocation in five countries, revealing hidden government rationales and unintended consequences.

    Once considered outdated, citizenship revocation – also called deprivation or denationalization – has come back to the political center in many Western liberal states. Contributors scrutinize the positions of stakeholders (e.g. civil servants, representatives of civil society, judges, supranational institutions) and their diverse rationales for citizenship revocation (e.g. allegations of terrorism, treason, espionage, criminal behaviour, and fraud in the naturalisation process). The volume also uncovers the variety of tools that national governments have at their disposition to change existing citizenship revocation laws and policies, and the constraints that they are faced with to actually implement citizenship revocation in daily operations. Finally, contributors underscore the extraordinary severity of sanctions implied by citizenship revocation and offer a nuanced picture of the material and symbolic forms of exclusion not only for those whose citizenship is withdrawn but also for minority groups (wrongly) associated with the aforementioned allegations. Indeed, revocation policies target not merely individuals but specific collective categories, which tend to be ethno-racially constructed and attributed specific location within the international status hierarchy of nation-states.

    International and interdisciplinary in scope, When States Take Rights Back will be of great interest to scholars of politics, international law, sociology and political and legal history, and Human Rights. The chapters were originally published in Citizenship Studies.

    1. Conditional membership: what revocation does to citizenship

    Émilien Fargues and Elke Winter

    2. Governing imperial citizenship: a historical account of citizenship revocation

    Deirdre Troy

    3. Discussing the human rights limits on loss of citizenship: a normative-legal perspective on egalitarian arguments regarding Dutch Nationality laws targeting Dutch-Moroccans

    Tom L. Boekestein and Gerard-René de Groot

    4. The politics of un-belonging: lessons from Canada’s experiment with citizenship revocation

    Elke Winter and Ivana Previsic

    5. Denaturalisation and conceptions of citizenship in the ‘war on terror"

    Patrick Sykes

    6. Simply a matter of compliance with the rules? The moralising and responsibilising function of fraud-based citizenship deprivation in France and the UK

    Émilien Fargues

    7. The concept of allegiance in citizenship law and revocation: an Australian study

    Helen Irving

    8. Citizenship revocation: a stress test for liberal democracy

    Janie Pélabay and Réjane Sénac


    Émilien Fargues is a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute and a research associate in the Global Citizenship Governance project at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Sciences Po Paris.

    Elke Winter is the William Lyon Mackenzie King Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, Professor of Sociology at the University of Ottawa, and Research Director at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Citizenship and Minorities (CIRCEM). Her research is concerned with questions of migration, ethnic diversity, multiculturalism, and citizenship.

    Matthew J. Gibney is Professor of Politics and Forced Migration at the University of Oxford, Official Fellow of Linacre College, Oxford, and Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. He specialises in the political and ethical issues raised by refugees, citizenship, and migration control.