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The Politics of Citizenship in Europe


  • 12 b/w illus. 9 tables
  • Page extent: 258 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.39 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521691277)

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$29.99 (P)

In this book, Marc Morjé Howard addresses immigrant integration, one of the most critical challenges facing European countries today, the resolution of which will in large part depend on how foreigners can become citizens. Howard’s research shows that despite remarkable convergence in their economic, judicial, and social policies, the countries of the European Union still maintain very different definitions of citizenship. Based on an innovative measure of national citizenship policies, the book accounts for both historical variation and contemporary change. Howard’s historical explanation highlights the legacies of colonialism and early democratization, which unintentionally created relatively inclusive citizenship regimes. The contemporary analysis explores why some of the more restrictive countries have liberalized in recent decades, whereas others have not. Howard’s argument focuses on the politics of citizenship, showing in particular how anti-immigrant public opinion – when activated politically, usually by far right movements or public referenda – can block the liberalizing tendencies of political elites. Overall, the book shows the far-reaching implications of this growing and volatile issue.


Introduction; Part I. Argument: 1. Citizenship in cross-national perspective: an empirical baseline in the EU-15; 2. Historical variation and legacies: the impact of colonialism and early democratization; 3. Continuity and change in the contemporary period: the impact of public mobilization; Part II. Cases: 4. Liberalizing change: Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Portugal; 5. Restrictive continuity: Austria, Denmark, Italy, Spain, and Greece; 6. Partial liberalization with a restrictive backlash: Germany; 7. Citizenship battles in the historically liberal countries: France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Ireland; 8. The new European frontier: the 12 Accession countries;Conclusion; Appendix I; Appendix II.

Prize Winner

Co-Winner, 2010 ENMISA Distinguished Book Award, Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Section, International Studies Association

Honorable Mention, 2009-2010 Best Book Award, European Union Studies Association


“Rules concerning citizenship, particularly for immigrants from countries outside Europe, vary extraordinarily…Howard sets out to explain these striking differences, finding that colonialism, despite its manifest cruelty and inequality, had the ironic consequence of spreading egalitarian sentiments in colonial powers….A welcome first step beyond the usual stereotypes about Europe’s immigration policies.”
Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs

“Howard’s illuminating new book studies the politics of citizenship, using a broad comparative approach. He provides a provocative analysis of liberalization in citizenship policy that will be a timely addition to the growing literature on citizenship in general and European Union studies in particular.”
-Seyla Benhabib, Yale University

“Marc Howard is one of a handful of scholars who takes the empirical study of citizenship policy seriously. In contrast to the many studies indulge in tedious moralizing, Howard provides a truly comparative study of citizenship across Europe, one that draws on both historical and quantitative analysis. His argument - that citizenship trajectory is a function of colonial legacies and party politics - is clear, elegant, and thoroughly convincing. This outstanding book is required reading for anyone interested in citizenship, immigration, or contemporary European Politics.”
-Randall Hansen, University of Toronto

“Marc Howard’s excellent new book pushes citizenship to the center-stage of comparative politics. Crisply clear yet highly nuanced, the book provides compelling explanations of why some European states have recently liberalized their citizenship laws and why some others have not. Howard’s skillful combination of quantitative and qualitative methods is social science at its best.”
-Christian Joppke, The American University of Paris

“This is the most important book on the politics of citizenship in Europe to appear in many years. Marc Howard examines two questions about citizenship policy that have intrigued several generations of social scientists: how can we account for differences among countries at similar levels development; and how can we account for changes in well-established policies? By combining case studies with a cross-national analysis of fifteen European countries, Howard develops an original, comparative and comprehensive approach for understanding the politics of citizenship.”
-Martin Schain, New York University

“Many authors have described and criticized European citizenship laws and policies. Marc Morjé Howard measures and explains them. Here is finally an analysis of persistent differences and common trends across the European Union based on state-of-the-art comparative political science.”
-Rainer Bauböck, European University Institute


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