Skip to main content

Limits of Citizenship

Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe

In many Western countries, rights that once belonged solely to citizens are being extended to immigrants, a trend that challenges the nature and basis of citizenship at a time when nation-states are fortifying their boundaries through restirictive border controls and expressions of nationalist ideologies. In this book, Yasemin Soysal compares the different ways European nations incorporate immigrants, how these policies evolved, and how they are influenced by international human rights discourse.

Soysal focuses on postwar international migration, paying particular attention to "guestworkers." Taking an in-depth look at France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, she identifies three major patterns that reflect the varying emphasis particular states place on individual versus corporate groups as the basis for incorporation. She finds that the global expansion and intensification of human rights discourse puts nation-states under increasing outside pressure to extend membership rights to aliens, resulting in an increasingly blurred line between citizen and noncitizen. Finally, she suggests a possible accommodation to these shifts: specifically, a model of post-national membership that derives its legitimacy from universal personhood, rather than national belonging.

This fresh approach to the study of citizenship, rights, and immigration will be invaluable to anyone involved in issues of human rights, international migration, and transnational cultural interactions, as well as to those who study the contemporary transformation of the nation-state, nationalism, and globalization.

251 pages | 17 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1994

Political Science: Political and Social Theory

Sociology: General Sociology

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
1: Introduction
2: International Migration and the Nation-State System
3: Explaining Incorporation Regimes
4: Discourses and Instruments of Incorporation
5: The Organization of Incorporation
6: The Collective Organization of Migrants
7: The Membership Rights and Status of Migrants
8: Toward a Postnational Model of Membership
9: Conclusion
Appendix A: List of State Agencies, Organizations, and Migrant Associations at which Interviews Were Conducted
Appendix B: The Organizational Structure of Incorporation
Appendix C: List of International Instruments that Provide Standards Applicable to International Migrants
Appendix D: List of Intergovernmental and Nongovernmental Organizations Concerned with International Migration and Migrant Workers

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press