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Membership Struggles in Contested States: Citizenship as a Right or a Weapon?

Jelena Dzankic
Tuesday, February 27, 2024, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

ABSTRACT | What happens to citizenship when states and nations are challenged politically, socially, or territorially? How do the different ways in which states define their membership reinforce or defy the existing relations between individuals, groups, and institutions? Addressing these key questions in the contested and ethnically heterogeneous states in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans, this talk highlights how citizenship oscillates between being a right for individuals and a powerful weapon for inclusion and exclusion for states. Focusing on the interplay between competing ethnic identities and state-building projects, the talk puts forward an  analytical framework for studying continuities and discontinuities of citizenship in post-partition, post-conflict states. It then draws on a series of cases to show how citizenship regimes in challenged states are shaped not only by the immediate political contexts that generated them, but also by their historical trajectories, societal environments in which they exist, as well as the transformative powers of external factors.

BIO | Univ.-Prof. Jelena Dzankic is Part-Time Professor in the Global Governance Programme at the Robert Schuman Centre of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. She is Director of GGP Southeastern Europe and Co-Director of the Global Citizenship Observatory (GLOBALCIT). She holds a PhD degree in International Studies from the University of Cambridge, and has taught and researched at the University of Edinburgh, University College London, University of Graz, and Passau University. She is the author of the Global Market for Investor Citizenship (Palgrave 2019), a leading study in the field of wealth-based citizenship acquisition. Her earlier works include Citizenship in Bosnia Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro. Effects of Statehood and Identity Challenges (Routledge, 2015), and the edited volumes Europeanisation of the Western Balkans: A failure of EU Conditionality (2018, with S. Keil and M. Kmezic), and The Europeanisation of Citizenship Governance in South-East Europe (2016, with S. Kacarska and N. Pantic). Her articles appeared, inter alia, in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Nationalities Papers, and International Migration Review.

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