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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Does holding citizenship matter? Do countries reap benefits or face disadvantages from extending citizenship status? A “postnational” or “denationalized” view holds that citizenship’s saliency has decreased with the normative and legal extension of human rights and growth of more local or transnational identities. Others contend that citizenship is just a “hollow promise” of little substantive help to the disadvantaged. Surprisingly, the empirical evidence for citizenship’s significance is thin, in part due to significant data and methodological challenges in identifying effects. Nevertheless, existing research suggests that citizenship status may increase political and civic participation, carry economic benefits, strengthen identification with the national community, and improve social integration. Effects are modest, however, though stronger for non-Western immigrants living in liberal democracies. Moving forward, researchers must investigate not just whether citizenship matters, but for whom, in what contexts, and why. The chapter elaborates six possible mechanisms linking citizenship status to life experiences.

Keywords: Citizenship, status, identities, rights, participation, mechanisms, social integration, economic integration, data and methodology, postnationalism

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