Academic journal article CEU Political Science Journal

Marc Morje Howard, the Politics of Citizenship in Europe

Academic journal article CEU Political Science Journal

Marc Morje Howard, the Politics of Citizenship in Europe

Article excerpt

Marc Morje Howard, The Politics of Citizenship in Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

The empirical study of citizenship policy in Europe still represents a poorly understood topic. A number of studies concentrate on the rights and practices of citizens as well as the issues of new migrants and their citizenship status. However, to the present there has been very scarce analysis produced treating comparative studies of citizenship across Europe and providing both historical and quantitative analysis.

In his book Howard looks at the implications for immigrant integration, national identity and democratic politics in the modern era. In particular, he examines these questions through an empirical study of the citizenship

policies of the respective 'older' member-states of the European Union (EU-15), with some reference to the new member-states (the 'Accession-12') towards the end. The book demonstrates the extensive implications of the growing and potentially volatile issue of citizenship policies and immigrant integration. This empirical study of citizenship policy enables a comparative as well as quantitative analysis of citizenship policies across the European countries. The book represents a valuable resource for other scholars researching this emerging issue, as well as for policy analysts and policy makers coming from the countries that are subject to analysis and from other countries. As Howard himself puts it, 'one of the main purposes of this book has been to rejuvenate the study of citizenship in comparative perspective' (p. 194) and one can most certainly argue that he has succeeded in his goal.

Howard's approach treats citizenship as a '"legal category", focusing on the formal requirements for having access to citizenship, rather than on the rights, obligations, beliefs or practices of citizenship' (p. 4). Via an empirical baseline, Howard constructs a Citizenship Policy Index (CPI); according to the respective CPI score, countries can be categorized as: restrictive, medium or liberal. Afterwards the scholarly task is to investigate what makes a country historically liberal, restrictive or to demonstrate a shift from one category to another. In terms of policy-making, Howard presents a very strong, paradoxical argument: "nondemocratic elite-driven process may lead to more inclusive outcomes, whereas genuine popular involvement can result in a more restrictive laws and institutions" in one country (p. 200).

The methodology used contains research design that includes both medium-N cross-national analysis (for the creation of CPI) and more in-depth case studies of the EU-15, as well as of the 'Accession-12' countries in the last chapter. Howard looks at two sets of factors behind the drafting of citizenship policies: historical variations and factors explaining relative continuity or change in citizenship policies. The latter include (a) international and domestic pressures for liberalization and an absence of public discussions and popular involvement; (b) mobilization of public opinion by 'far right' political party on the issues related to citizenship policies, as a blocking force of liberalization. …

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