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The Ironies of Citizenship


  • 5 b/w illus. 28 tables
  • Page extent: 352 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.48 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521145411)

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$32.99 (P)

Explanations of naturalization and jus soli citizenship have relied on cultural, convergence, racialization, or capture theories, and they tend to be strongly affected by the literature on immigration. This study of naturalization breaks with the usual immigration theories and proposes an approach over centuries and decades toward explaining naturalization rates. First, over centuries, it provides consistent evidence to support the long-term existence of colonizer, settler, non-colonizer, and Nordic nationality regime types that frame naturalization over centuries. Second, over three and a half decades, it shows how left and green parties, along with an index of nationality laws, explain the lion’s share of variation in naturalization rates. The text makes these theoretical claims believable by using the most extensive data set to date on naturalization rates that include jus soli births. It analyzes this data with a combination of carefully designed case studies comparing two to four countries within and between regime types, and tests them with cross-sectional pooled regression techniques especially suitable to slow-moving but dynamic institutions.


1. Introduction: the politics of granting citizenship; 2. Wide measures with synthetic and dynamic methods; Part I. The Colonizers and Settlers: 3. Colonization in reverse: the degrees of empire in the UK and France; 4. From manifest destiny to multi-culturalism in the settler countries; Part II. Matched Case Studies and Exceptions: 5. European colonizer versus short term occupier: Austria and Germany; 6. World colonizer versus late occupier: The Netherlands and Belgium; 7. Left and green politics trump regime types in Nordic countries; Part III. The Comprehensive Analysis of Naturalization Rates: 8. Explaining naturalization rates in eighteen countries: regimes over centuries and politics and institutions over decades; 9. Conclusion - explanations and future of citizenship.


The Ironies of Citizenship brings together an unprecedented wealth of information on citizenship that spans more than three decades and 18 countries. Janoski uses his impressive store of legal knowledge and naturalization statistics to forcefully argue that contemporary politics and historical experiences, especially of colonialism, are the driving forces behind immigrants’ formal political membership today. An important, empirically-grounded addition to current debates about immigrant citizenship.”
—Irene Bloemraad, University of California, Berkeley

“This beautifully written and meticulously documented volume by a brilliant scholar with a stellar record of comparative social research contributes significantly to our understanding of naturalization. It builds on numerous case studies to provide a comprehensive review of historical and contemporary factors that shape various nations’ approaches to naturalization and then applies sophisticated statistical techniques to test major theories on the topic. In this, Professor Janoski reveals his unique ability to weave together both historical and quantitative methods in a succinct, theoretically refined, and highly original manner.”
—Steven Gold, Michigan State University

“Tom Janoski’s new book brings the rigor of causal analysis and the depth of historical-comparative sociology to the usually descriptive and legalistic study of nationality laws. In an impressive comparison of eighteen countries, The Ironies of Citizenship tells us why some countries hand out citizenship to foreigners easily while others are reluctant, and what accounts for change over time. This is a milestone in the comparative study of citizenship.”
—Christian Joppke, The American University of Paris

“Thomas Janoski’s The Ironies of Citizenship is a comprehensive examination of differences in the dynamics of naturalization across the advanced industrial societies. Based on years of in-depth comparative research, Janoski addresses an impressive range of interconnected theoretical issues, buttressing his conclusions with an array of historical and quantitative evidence. Very few comparative projects combine this breadth and depth.”
—Charles Ragin, University of Arizona

“In this impressive work, Thomas Janoski dares to take up Charles Tilly’s admonition for comparative historical sociologists to make ‘huge comparisons of big structures and large processes,’ and investigates the determinants of naturalization rates of contemporary advanced capitalist democracies over the sweep of four centuries in five comparative historical analyses. The Ironies of Citizenship represents the finest in macro-comparative political sociology. It is essential reading for comparative political sociologists and comparative political scientists regardless of sub-field.”
—John D. Stephens, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

“To explain variations in nationality and naturalization policies, [Janoski] first elaborates a set of categories that are based on a country’s colonial/settler past. Janoski’s categories, unlike those developed by other scholars, are dynamic and developmental.” - Martin A. Schain, New York University, Comparative Politics

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