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HomeMultiple Citizenships: Mobility as a Heritage and as a Horizon

Multiple Citizenships: Mobility as a Heritage and as a Horizon

Nationalités multiples : la mobilité en héritage et comme horizon

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Published on Friday, October 22, 2021


The number of people holding at least two citizenships is constantly increasing in the world. While current mobility is a major factor in this phenomenon, the mobility of past generations and changes operated by many countries in their citizenship law are also at issue here. However, French research has so far focused almost exclusively on multiple citizenships resulting from the acquisition of the citizenship of the host country by an immigrant or his/her children. The aim of this special issue is to gather case studies on other modalities of access to multiple citizenships in Europe and beyond. In doing so, it aims to examine afresh the meaning and representations associated with this phenomenon, the multiple uses that one can make of the different citizenships he or she holds, as well as the link between citizenship and the feeling of national belonging.



As a result of the changes that affected modern nation-states and of the increasing mobility of individuals worldwide, the number of people holding two or more citizenships is constantly increasing, to the extent that dual citizenship is becoming a “new global norm” (Weil, 2011). This phenomenon is rooted in the migratory heritage of contemporary societies where more and more people come from migrant families or mixed couples. It can be explained by the growing importance of jus soli (birthright citizenship) from which immigrants’ children can benefit, by greater gender equality allowing women to keep and pass on their citizenship to their children, but also by the efforts of emigration countries to maintain links with their emigrants and diasporas, notably via the conservation of jus sanguinis (right of blood) (Amit, 2014: 396-397; Dufoix et al., 2010). Thus, the spread of dual citizenship reflects changes in the relations between states as well as in the relations between each state and its own citizens.

Many studies have been carried out on the way states apprehend dual citizenship, seek to oppose it or, on the contrary, encourage it. Yet, research on the meanings people give to their multiple citizenships and on the uses they make of them, remains fragmentary. In France, scholars have studied this topic mainly through the prism of naturalization (Chattou and Belbah, 2002; Labat, 2010; Perrin, 2016; Gouirir, 2018). The other ways of acquiring additional citizenships (through ancestry, ethnonational identity, birth tourism[1] or financial investment) remain largely unexplored.

The aim of this special issue is therefore to focus on citizenships acquired by means other than naturalization and in particular on citizenships acquired through jus sanguinis. For example, many Latin Americans whose families emigrated from Italy in the first half of the twentieth century can easily become Italian by virtue of their ancestry (Blanchard, 2020a). Similarly, Israelis of European descent are increasingly taking on the citizenship of the country their forebears fled (Harpaz, 2013; Lamarche, 2019). Moreover, most of the countries located at the borders of the European Union are home to ethnonational minorities whose members can claim an additional citizenship (Münz and Ohliger, 2003). This is the case, for example, of Hungarians of Serbia or Germans of Romania (Brubaker, 1998; Michalon, 2013).

Citizenships acquired through the right of blood, by people who were born and live far away from the granting countries, have been alternately referred to as “rescue citizenships” (Quadri, cited by Tintori, 2010), “dormant citizenships” (Jedlicki and Gonzalez Bernaldo, 2013), “external citizenships” (Dumbrava, 2014) or “compensatory citizenships” (Harpaz, 2018). The migration movements to which they give rise, have been called “ethnic return migration” (Brubaker, 1998; Michalon, 2007; Tsuda, 2010) or “diasporic return” (Olsson and King, 2008). Although English and Spanish-language literature on the subject is growing (Harpaz and Mateos, 2018), due to its rapid increase in some Eastern and Southern European countries, this phenomenon is poorly known and still under-analysed in France. Yet, it allows to look at citizenship while being detached from the emotional and normative prism that is often associated with naturalizations (Mazouz and Fassin, 2007; Masure, 2014). By bringing together case studies dealing with different ways to access multiple citizenships in Europe and beyond, this special issue aims to question in a new way the meaning and representations associated with them and the uses people make of them. It also aims to question the link between citizenship and national belonging. Proposals from different disciplines (sociology, anthropology, geography, political science, history, etc.) can be submitted. Papers involving a multidisciplinary approach are also welcomed, as well as research based on empirical work. Here are two of the research lines under which proposals may fall

Research line 1: Citizenship as a Resource and Citizenship in Practice

In the wake of Aihwa Ong’s research on “flexible citizenship” (Ong, 1999), many scholars point to a utilitarian conception of citizenship. They show that citizenship is often used instrumentally by actors engaged in different forms of cross-border mobility, reminding us that the link between citizenship and emotional attachment is extremely variable (Yanasmayan, 2015). Holding a second citizenship can be a vital recourse in situations of crisis, such as conflicts (Bontemps, 2012) or economic recession (Blanchard and Sirna, 2017): it allows individuals to seek refuge in another country. Less dramatically, it can facilitate professional movements and be part of a strategy of global upward mobility (Harpaz, 2018 and 2019). Finally, some citizenships endow those who receive them with a privileged status. On one hand, they elevate them to the rank of citizens who are free to circulate in a global space marked by unequal mobility regimes (Glick Schiller and Salazar, 2013; Balta and Altan-Olcay, 2015; Odasso, 2016; Blanchard, 2020a). On the other hand, they give symbolic prestige to the people who possess them, because they are proofs of their valued European ancestry (Harpaz, 2013; Lamarche, 2019; Jedlicki and Lamarche, 2021). Contributions may be related to one of the following three questions.

The first question tackles the link between the acquisition of an additional citizenship and mobility, whether the latter is immediate, prospected or just potential. Authors are invited to propose case studies on the different types of mobility related to the acquisition or possession of a dual citizenship: education mobility, professional mobility, medical mobility, family mobility, “nostalgic” mobility (Blanchard and Sirna, 2017), etc.

A second question addresses the symbolic motivations for acquiring an additional citizenship. Beyond the physical mobility allowed by some countries’ passports, which are veritable gateways to the world, prestige and social ascension can indeed be based on the possession of the citizenship of a different country than the country of birth, to which one attributes greater influence (Balta and Altan-Olcay, 2020).

A third question explores the social and political experience of having multiple citizenships and illustrates the way citizenship may, or not, be activated through “acts of citizenship” (Isin and Nielsen, 2008). The aim here is to examine the link between the status of citizen (holding a citizenship) and the role of citizen (actively engaging in the public arena). In particular, this section will explore situations where the possession of a second citizenship is accompanied by practices such as voting or being politically involved (in social movements, parties or trade unions). Indirectly, papers may also tackle the issues at stake for states in extending their electorate through granting citizenship to emigrants’ descendants residing abroad.

Research line 2: Citizenship, Kinship and Sense of Belonging

Research has shown that acquiring an additional citizenship through jus sanguinis is both a family and an individual matter (Lamarche, 2019; Blanchard, 2020b). Indeed, when they have to retrace their family tree in order to ask for an additional citizenship, individuals may reconnect with a sometimes forgotten family memory and reconsider their place within their family history (Dos Santos, 2015). Moreover, in a family with lineages of different origins, requesting the citizenship of one of them equates to selecting family transmission and this, in turn, may affect the individual’s experience of kinship (Segalen and Martial, 2013). Thus, acquiring a citizenship through jus sanguinis can contribute to consolidating kinship ties between generations scattered over different countries, especially when this is accompanied by a “backward” mobility to the ancestral country, but it can also lead to an irremediable distension of these ties. Building on this observation, contributions are invited to address one of the following questions.

The first question tackles the way kinship relations influence the decision to make use, or not, of the right to citizenship and the mobility behaviours that may result from it. It also addresses the effects of citizenship acquisition on practical kinship (Weber, 2005), i.e. on the way individuals experience their family relationships on a day-to-day basis.

A second set of questions focuses on the link between kinship, citizenship and the feeling of national belonging. Under what conditions is it possible to feel part of the national community of a country where one does not reside, but from where one’s parents or grandparents come? More broadly, how do bi-nationals understand their relationship with the two countries granting them citizenship and to which extent is this relationship the product of their family history, of their personal trajectory (social, migratory, political, etc.) and of broader History? Among the countries providing additional citizenships, some have persecuted part of their population for racial or political reasons, forcing into exile those whom they were unable to imprison or exterminate. How does the fact that exiles’ offspring acquire citizenships of the countries that persecuted their ancestors question their family history and their own relationship to History?


  • Start of call: October 18, 2021
  • Deadline to send abstracts (answer in the following weeks): December 1st, 2021

  • Deadline to send articles for peer-review: May 15, 2022
  • Deadline to send articles in their final version: September 1st, 2022
  • Publication: December 2022

Submission Modalities

Proposals for articles should be written in French or English, and should include the author’s affiliation, a title and an abstract (1,000 characters spaces included). They can come from different disciplines of the social sciences, and should be sent to melissa.blanchard@univ-amu.fr, constance.degourcy@univ-amu.fr and karine.lamarche@univ-nantes.fr before December 1st, 2021.

Articles can be in French or English.

Texts need to conform to house style

Selection Committee/Coordination

  • Melissa Blanchard (Anthropologist, Research Fellow, CNRS, Norbert Elias Center, Marseille)
  • Karine Lamarche (Sociologist, Research Fellow, CNRS, CENS, Nantes)
  • Constance De Gourcy (Sociologist, Lecturer HDR, MESOPOLHIS, CNRS/MMSH Aix-Marseille University)




Anderson Benedict (1983) Imagined communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, Londres, Random House.

Amit Vered (2014) Inherited multiple citizenships: opportunities, happenstances and improviations among mobile young adults, Social Anthropology, 22 (4), pp. 396-409.

Balta Evren and Altan-Olcay Özlem (2020) The American Passport in Turkey. National Citizenship in the Age of Transnationalism, Philadelphia, PA, University of Pennsylvania Press.

Balta Evren and Altan-Olcay Özlem (2015) Strategic citizens of America: transnational inequalities and transformation of citizenship, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39 (6), pp. 939-957.

Blanchard Melissa (2020a) Citoyenneté européenne, nationalité italienne et « mythe institutionnel » du retour : le cas des Argentins et des Chiliens descendants d’émigrés italiens, Ethnologie Française, 3 (50), pp. 545-558.

Blanchard Melissa (2020b) Usages du droit au retour dans l’Italie du Nord-Est : entre nouvelles migrations et transmission familiale, in Amélie Fillod-Chabaud et Laura Odasso Éds., Faire et défaire les liens familiaux. Usages et pratiques en contexte migratoire, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, pp. 155-166.

Blanchard Melissa et Sirna Francesca (2017) Les migrations de retour à l’épreuve du projet migratoire. Migrants alpins dès la crise de 1970 à nos jours, Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales, 33 (2-3), pp. 301-322.

Bontemps Véronique (2012) Ville et patrimoine en Palestine. Une ethnographie des savonneries de Naplouse, Paris, Karthala.

Brubaker Rogers (1998) Migrations of Ethnic Unmixing in the “New Europe”, International Migration Review, 32 (4), pp. 1047-1065.

Chattou Zoubir et Belbah Mustapha (2002) La double nationalité en question : enjeux et motivations de la double appartenance, Paris, Karthala.

Dos Santos Irène (2015) Identité collective et construction politique d’une diaspora : usages du passé dans la migration portugaise, in Marianne Amar, Hélène Bertheleu et Laure Teulières Éds., Mémoires des migrations et temps de l’histoire, Tours, Presses Universitaires François Rabelais, pp. 139-157.

Dufoix Stéphane, Guerassimoff Carine et de Tinguy Anne (Éds.) (2010) Loin des yeux, près du coeur, Les États et leurs expatriés, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po.

Glick Schiller Nina and Salazar Noel B. (2013) Regimes of Mobility Across the Globe, Journal of Ethnic and Migraiton Studies, 39 (2), pp. 183-200.

Gollac Sibylle (2005) Faire ses partages. Patrimoine professionnel et groupe de descendance, Terrain, 45, pp. 113-124.

Gouirir Malika (2018) État, Politique et absence : le « statut » des Marocains Résidant à l’Étranger (MRE), Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée, 144, pp. 81-98.

Green Nancy (2009) Expatriation, Expatriates, and Expats: The American Transformation of a Concept, American Historical Review, 114 (2), pp. 307-328.

Harpaz Yossi (2019) Citizenship 2.0: Dual Nationality as a Global Asset, Princeton, Princeton University Press.

Harpaz Yossi (2018) Compensatory Citizenship: Dual Nationality as a Strategy of Global Upward Mobility, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 45 (6), pp. 897-916.

Harpaz Yossi (2013) Rooted Cosmopolitans: Israelis with a European Passport - History, Property, Identity, International Migration Review, 47 (1), pp. 166‑206.

Harpaz Yossi and Mateos Pablo (Éds.) (2018) Special Issue: Strategic Citizenship: Negotiating Membership in the Age of Dual Nationality, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 45 (6).

Isin Engin F. and Nielsen Greg M. (2008) Acts of citizenship, London and New York, Zed Books.

Jedlicki Fanny et Lamarche Karine (2020) Récupérer une nationalité européenne. Quand des descendants d’Argentins et d’Israéliens mobilisent leurs origines familiales migratoires, Diasporas. Circulations, migrations, histoire, 36, pp. 129-148.

Labat Séverine (2010) La France réinventée. Les nouveaux binationaux franco-algériens, Paris, Publisud.

Lamarche Karine (2019) « Si grand-père savait… ». Le recours des Israéliens ashkénazes aux nationalités européennes de leurs ascendants, Genèses, 116 (3), pp. 27-48.

Masure François (2009) Devenir français ? Approche anthropologique de la naturalisation, Toulouse, Presses Universitaires du Mirail.

Mazouz Sarah et Fassin Didier (2007) Qu’est-ce que devenir français ? La naturalisation comme rite d’institution républicain, Revue française de sociologie, 48 (4), pp. 723-750.

Michalon Bénédicte (2013) Les expériences migratoires des Aussiedler : regroupement familial et réseaux, Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales, 29 (3), pp. 55-75.

Michalon Bénédicte (2007) Les retours en migration : une notion polysémique, des formes migratoires multiples, in Véronique Petit Éd., Migrations internationales de retour et pays d’origine, Paris, CEPED, pp. 27-45.

Münz Rainer and Ohliger Rainer (Eds.) (2003) Diasporas and Ethnic Migrants: Germany, Israel and Post-Soviet Successor States in Comparative Perspective, London, Frank Cass.

Odasso Laura (2016) Mixités conjugales. Discrédits, résistances et créativités dans les familles avec un partenaire arabe, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes.

Olsson Erik and King Russell (2008) Introduction: Diasporic return, Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, 17 (3), pp. 255-261.

Ong Aihwa (1999) Flexible citizenship: the cultural logics of transnationality, Durham, Duke University Press.

Ribert Evelyne (1998) Les jeunes nés en France de parents étrangers face au choix d’une nationalité, in GDR Migrations Internationales et Relations Inter-Ethniques CNRS (Rennes, 15-17 septembre 1997), Dynamiques migratoires et rencontres ethniques, Actes des Journées Universitaires d’Automne, Paris, L’Harmattan, pp. 219-231.

Segalen Martine et Martial Agnès (2013) Sociologie de la famille, Paris, Armand Colin.

Tintori Guido (2010) L’Italie et ses expatriés. Une perspective historique, in Stéphane Dufoix, Carine Guerassimoff et Anne de Tinguy Éds., Loin des yeux, près du coeur, Les États et leurs expatriés, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po, pp. 79-104.

Tsuda Takeyuki (2010) Ethnic return migration and the nation-state: encouraging the diaspora to return “home”, Nations and nationalisms, 16 (4), pp. 616-636.

Tsuda Takeyuki (2009) Introduction: Diasporic Return and Migration Studies, in Takeyuki Tsuda Ed., Diasporic Homecomings. Ethnic return Migration in Comparative Perspective, Stanford, Stanford University Press, pp. 1-20.

Weber Florence (2005) Le sang, le nom, le quotidien. Une sociologie de la parenté pratique, Paris, Aux Lieux d’être.

Weber Florence (2002) Pour penser la parenté contemporaine, in Danielle Debordeaux et Pierre Strobel Éds., Les solidarités familiales en questions. Entraide et transmission, Paris, L.G.D.J., pp. 73-106.

Weil Patrick (2011) From conditional to secured and sovereign: The new strategic link between the citizen and the nation-state in a globalized world, International journal of constitutional law, 9 (3-4), pp. 615-635.

Yanasmayan Zeynep (2015) Citizenship on paper or at heart? A closer look into the dual citizenship debate in Europe, Citizenship Studies, 19 (6-7), pp. 785-801.


[1] I.e. giving birth to a child in a country of which one is not a resident (e.g. the United States) in order to obtain its citizenship.


  • Wednesday, December 01, 2021


  • nationalité, citoyenneté, mobilité, migration de retour, jus sanguinis, binationalité, citizenship, nationality, mobility, return migration, binationality


  • Audrey Montépini
    courriel : remi [at] univ-poitiers [dot] fr

Information source

  • Audrey Montépini
    courriel : remi [at] univ-poitiers [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

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« Multiple Citizenships: Mobility as a Heritage and as a Horizon », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Friday, October 22, 2021, https://calenda.org/924834

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