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A theory of denizenship

Benton, M.E.; (2010) A theory of denizenship. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Political philosophers have generally assumed that all residents of states are citizens, and vice versa. But the changing face of migration from permanent, ‘settler’ migration to temporary, multiple migration means that ‘denizenship’ – the state of being a resident non-citizen – can no longer be considered anomalous. Denizenship is clearly a less favourable status than citizenship. However, little has been done to explore this intuition. To the extent that immigration has been theorised, it has been according to three main dimensions. The first considers first admission, the second what rights denizens are entitled to, and the third what conditions states can set on citizenship acquisition. Part 1 of my thesis examines and identifies the limitations with these existing approaches. I argue that, by identifying the problem of denizenship with the absence of legal rights, the rights approach cannot specify the conditions under which it is problematic for denizens to enjoy fewer of the rights of citizenship. It also takes insufficient account of the way in which states lack the incentive to protect their non-citizen population. The citizenship acquisition approach, on the other hand, is not sensitive enough to deal with the different claims of vulnerable groups of migrants. In Part 2 I advance an alternative framework for addressing the problem of denizenship structured around the republican ideal of non-domination. First, I develop a conception of domination as dependence on unaccountable power. Second, I apply this conception to the case study of denizens and to different groups of vulnerable migrants. I find that denizens as a group are vulnerable to domination, and that they encompass vulnerability subgroups, including refugees and undocumented migrants. Finally, I outline features of a domination-reducing policy approach to migration. I suggest that domination can inform policies in four areas: improving the accountability of states to their non-citizen population; empowering denizens in their private relationships; reducing domination in immigration policy; and reducing arbitrariness in citizenship acquisition.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:A theory of denizenship
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Political Science

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