Andrii Yalanski Shutterstock
Andrii Yalansky/Shutterstock

Citizenship Narratives


Global migration has revived questions of collective identity. As George Orwell once said: “It is only when you meet someone of a different culture from yourself that you begin to realize what your own beliefs really are”. Naturalization policies (re)construct collective identities by telling a narrative about who “we” are and deriving from it the qualities that “we” value in “others”.

In recent years, liberal democracies have implemented a variety of “cultural-defense means”, directing immigrants to embrace the narratives of the host society. This issue is a bone of contention especially in the European Union, where leading officials in some Member States declare a right to impose immigration restrictions to supposedly defend their collective identity.

The project examines three issues: [1] the concept of citizenship narratives—its normative sources, methods of identification, and mechanisms of legal protection; [2] the changes that migration may bring to citizenship narratives; and [3] the legitimate and illegitimate ways to reconcile conflicting citizenship narratives of newcomers and natives.