Citizenship inverted: From rights to status

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    The present dissertation is a study on the relationship between citizenship status and citizenship rights. It looks into the interlock between the legal and political dimensions of citizenship, by challenging both the argument that the possession of a formal legal status is a necessary condition to enjoy citizenship rights, and the argument that the possession of formal political membership is a necessary condition to take part in the scheme of distribution of social goods that a political community is committed to realise.

    For the purpose of clarifying the relation between status and rights, the studyfocuses on an atypical specimen of citizenship (EU Citizenship) and on threshold cases (Case C-34/09 Zambrano, Case C-86/12 Alokpa, et alia), in which individuals lacking formal EU citizenship status are included in the protective scope of EU citizenship. EU citizenship has been chosen as the field of inquiry, since its historical development and institutional design provide evidence of an apparently uncommon, and on-going, process of citizenship formation. The striking feature of this process is that the emergence of a set of protected rights seems to have prepared the way for the emergence of a political membership structure, and not vice-versa.

    The study uses a combination of legal and philosophical analyses to investigate the relationship between status and rights in the context of citizenship. The initial research hypothesis is that the traditional model of citizenship, from status-to-rights, can be inverted, and that decisions on the enjoyment of rights may, at times, predate decisions on political membership (Inverted Citizenship Hypothesis: IdCH). In conclusion, the initial hypothesis will be revised by the introduction of an Invertible Citizenship (IC) model and the traditional model will be corrected, rather than inverted.

    The dissertation comprises an introduction and five substantive chapters, four of which consist of journal articles, published or accepted for publication. Chapter 1 zooms in on the relationship between EU free movement and EU citizenship rights. Chapter 2 examines threshold cases, in which some third-country nationals (the emergent category of ‘Zambrano parents’) are included in the protective scope of EU citizenship. Chapter 3 argues that citizenship rights can be effectively protected only as long as they are not conceived as mere scattered individual interests. Chapter 4 looks at the connection between individuals involved in the practices of exchange and distribution of social goods within a political community. In this chapter, the IC model is presented as a solution to the problem of political inclusion and access to citizenship rights for individuals who find themselves in in-between situations, such as the one experienced by the category of Zambrano parents under EU law. The concluding chapter suggests the need for a deeper reflection on citizenship and shows how the proposed IC model can contribute to current legal and philosophical debates on citizenship regimes. Opening up avenues for future research, the author invites a look at the inclusion of newcomers in hosting communities through the lens of the joint commitment theory proposed by Margaret Gilbert. As concerns citizenship, the joint commitment at issue is the allocation of social goods (which is not limited to distribution, since it also includes the production of social goods and scattered practices of exchange). Participants in these practices of allocation of social goods have, then, the standing to demand equal distribution of social goods from one another, by virtue of their participation in the joint commitment. Contributions that are unsolicited, but not rejected, count as participation.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Laws
    Awarding Institution
    • Tilburg University
    • van Roermund, Bert, Promotor
    • Lindahl, Hans, Promotor
    • Augenstein, Daniel, Promotor
    Award date18 Dec 2017
    Print ISBNs978-94-6295-795-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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