Posts Tagged ‘citizenship’
According to a recent article by Tanja Brøndsted Sejersen in the International Migration Review, dual citizenship has been on the rise over the last 20 years. While in 1990, only 20% of states had legislation providing for dual citizenship, today it is more than 50% of the world’s countries.
This is for two reasons: an increasing focus on individual rights in state legislation, and the social challenge of inclusion and exclusion that many countries experience. While many countries have been opposed to the concept of dual citizenship for a long time as they feared for loss of national cohesion, Sejersen argues the world is seeing a change in attitude:
Dual citizenship highlights specific problems with the citizenship concept, especially the foreigner–citizen dichotomy and the assumed congruence between the demos, the nation, and the state. Many states exist with a multitude of nations living within them, but the democratic incorporation of citizens, denizens, foreign residents, and citizens abroad poses new questions when faced with the reality of dual citizenship. The move toward acceptance of dual citizenship highlights the blurred foundation for national identity as a tool of exclusion. […] A more relative understanding of the state and the citizenry may be necessary for allowing dual citizenship.
The Dutch government seems to have adopted a new terminology for ethnic minorities in the Netherlands. The term “bicultural” is now used in official communication rather than “allochtoon” for people of non-Dutch (or rather non-white) ethnicities. In February, the organisation Innovation for Integration will start a media campaign to promote the term.
The word bicultural is a positive counterpart for the word allochtoon,” Yesim Candam, the Turkish founder of IVI, said last year. “We used to say ‘guest labourer’, ‘new Dutch’ or ‘allochtoon’. ‘Bicultural’ is the first term that expresses the fact that two cultures are more than one!”
The term “allochtoon” has become widely used in the Netherlands for people of non-Dutch descent. In popular use, the term is only applied to non-whites, such as people with Turkish or Moroccan ancestry. The Dutch bureau of statistics makes a differentiation between “western” and “non-western” allochtoons in their census categories. While the state agency refers to “allochtoons” only to first- and second-generation immigrants, in everyday usage all non-white people are seen as “allochtoon”.
Historian Ian Buruma described the term “allochtoon” as “an ugly, and relatively new, bureaucratic term for people of alien, but more specifially non-European, origin”. It’s an example of how citizenship in Europe is often defined racially. Like in most European countries, citizenship law in the Netherlands is based on the “jus sanguinis” principle (literally: right of blood”). It confers citizenship rights based on the belonging to the national community of the Dutch, whatever that might look like.
The introduction of the term “biculturalism” is another step toward recognising that citizenship should be based on political principles rather than ethnic and racial fault lines.
Source: Crossroads Magazine