CFP: “The Politics of Naturalization. Citizenship Admission Criteria in Comparative Perspective”- IMISCOE Conference Geneva, 25-27 June 2015

The Politics of Naturalization. Citizenship Admission Criteria in Comparative Perspective

Organizers: Christian Fernandez  (Malmö University) and Pieter Bevelander (Malmö University)

Deadline for abstracts: January 8, 2015


Since the late 1990s, the institution of citizenship has gained a prominent and disputed place on the political agendas of European states. In the wake of international migration and growing diversity, citizenship has regained some of its traditional attraction as an overarching civic membership that draws people together. But whereas the post-War discourse on citizenship largely focused on equality of opportunities and social rights among natives, contemporary discourse is primarily concerned with the integration of immigrants. The invocation of citizenship is consequently accompanied by the desire for a stronger sense of community and shared identity, and often also by calls for a stricter immigration policy and a greater sense of loyalty, gratitude and adaptation to the receiving society. At the heart of the matter is the very process through which new citizens are ‘made’ – the rules of naturalization.

Naturalization is intimately connected to questions of inclusion and exclusion, and all the ideological symbolism that go with them. Contemporary European states have over the last two decades become increasingly eager to employ naturalization criteria as policy instruments, by which immigrants can be made to adapt and integrate in exchange for the reward of citizenship. It is manifested in a number of areas: in the way citizenship is talked about, stressing not only the rights and freedoms that citizenship entails, but also the duties and sacrifices to a greater, common good that it presupposes; in the stronger emphasis that states place on rituals of naturalization – ‘rites de passage’ – which symbolically mark the transformation from foreigner to citizen, manifested in oaths and celebratory rituals that are becoming increasingly common; and in the variety of tests and other requirements that states apply to determine whether or not migrants are sufficiently integrated to earn the status as citizens. Taken together, we call this fashioning of admission criteria the politics of naturalization.

This workshop addresses the public reasons and integration effects of the politics of naturalization from a comparative perspective. Scholars with an interest in these questions are warmly invited to submit paper proposals.

Please send your abstracts of maximum 500 words (with indications on theoretical framework, methods, and data used in the paper) to Christian Fernandez ( and Pieter Bevelander (pieter.bevelander@mah.seby January 8, 2015.