Scholarly literature shows that neoliberal globalisation has triggered significant transformation in the meanings, practices and experiences of political membership in contemporary Western democracies. The coexistence of different regimes of rights and the interplay of multi-layered systems of governance are a feature of contemporary societies, and the multiplication of legal statuses for non-citizens is one of the manifestations of this transformation. However, little is known about the impact of the proliferation of legal statuses and precarisation of membership on the ‘members’ of these societies, and the ways in which legal status (or its absence), intersect with social cleavages such as age, class, gender and ‘race’ and shape social relations.
Conceptions of state membership have been based on a notion of a bounded community whereby rules of legal citizenship determine community belonging and set the parameters for exclusion. More recently, however, a burgeoning line of scholarship is challenging the primacy of the nation-state for determining membership and endowing rights, arguing that recent trends in globalisation, human rights, and multiculturalism have made state borders less consequential. This raises critical questions as to when and how territorial presence constitutes membership. Moreover, resulting from the uneven impact of the current global economic crises, a new geography of migration is emerging, both in terms of new immigration destinations and of changing systems of governance of in- and out-flows of population. To date, little is known on whether and how membership is changing in association with these processes.
Within this framework of analysis, proposals are invited which address two under-researched figures of contemporary membership: the dual citizen and the stateless person, exploring the intersection between immigration and citizenship regimes, politics of belonging and everyday lived experiences in one or more contemporary immigration states. Because of the nature of the research, ethnographic, qualitative and mixed method approaches are especially welcome. The project will be closely linked to work being carried out by Dr Nando Sigona on legal status, rights and belonging – more information: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/social-policy/departments/applied-social-studies/research/projects/2013/precarious-status-migration-governance-and-new-geographies-of-mobility.aspx
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Berg, M. L., and Sigona, N. (2013) ‘Ethnography, diversity and urban space‘, Identities, 20 (4).
Sigona, N. (2012) ‘In between competing imaginaries of statehood: Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians leadership in newly independent Kosovo‘, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38 (8).
Sigona, N. (2012) ‘Globalisation, rights and the non-citizen‘, Sociology, 46 (5): 982-988