This article discusses some contemporary transformations of citizenship across Western states, with a special emphasis on Europe. It is argued that citizenship is subject to countervailing “de-” and “re-ethnicization” pressures, the first pushing toward incorporating immigrants, the second toward retaining ties with emigrants abroad. While grounded in the dual nature of the modern state as a territorial and ethnic unit, and reinforced by contemporary globalizing and transnationalizing processes, de- and re-ethnicization are identifiable projects of the political left and right, respectively. Which trend prevails is then a simple function of who has the political majority.
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