CfP Noncitizenship in theory and practice – ECPR conference

Together with Dr. Tendayi Bloom of the United Nations University Institute on Globalisation, Culture and Mobility, I am putting together a panel proposal on noncitizenship for the forthcoming ECPR general conference in September. We welcome proposals for papers – please see our call below, which we hope will be of interest. The deadline to get paper proposals to us is 27th January – send to

Noncitizenship in theory and practice

This panel will explore how political theory can begin to directly address the question of ‘noncitizenship’. This is a crucial and underexplored subject area. Existing political theory, particularly that which deals with justice and/or rights, has long assumed citizenship as a core concept. Noncitizenship, if it is considered at all, is generally defined merely as the negation or deprivation of citizenship. As such, it is difficult to examine successfully the status of noncitizens, obligations towards them, and the nature of their role in political systems.


Core questions to be addressed will include:

1.      What is/should be the nature of noncitizenship and what are/should be its implications?

2.      Can we develop a terminology that enables us to talk about the status of noncitizenship without simply defining it as the negation of citizenship?

3.      How can the political activity of noncitizens direct the political framework in which citizenship is developed?

4.      What can we learn about noncitizenship from the transition points, where someone can move between citizenship and noncitizenship, or where the status itself is contested?

5.      Is there a relevant shared status of noncitizenship, or should the – sometimes overlapping – statuses of refugee, worker, asylum seeker, student, irregular migrant, etc., be kept separate?

The need to consider noncitizenship is important both because of the problematic gap that exists in the theoretical literature, and because of the real world problems that are created as a result of non-citizenship that are not currently successfully addressed. Consequently, this panel will adopt an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together rigorous political theory with real world case studies.


We invite proposals for papers addressing these issues in areas including, but not limited to, the nature of illegality; experiences and practices of noncitizens; noncitizenship status in anthropological, political and legal terms; normative accounts of the rights of ‘aliens’; the terms of access to legalised residency; and the conceptualisation of noncitizenship.


Please send paper proposals to Katherine Tonkiss ( or Tendayi Bloom ( by 27th January 2013.


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