Migration Control in the North Atlantic World: The Evolution of State Practices in Europe and the United States from the French Revolution to the Inter-War Period

By Andreas Fahrmeir; Olivier Faron et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 9
Foreigners and the Law in
Nineteenth-Century Austria
Juridical Concepts and Legal Rights in
the Light of the Development of
Citizenship

Birgitta Bader-Zaar

Concepts of citizenship emerged in the Western half of the Habsburg lands — here referred to as Austria — from the end of the eighteenth century onwards, gradually leading to the loss of the original meaning of Bürger which had referred to the rights of municipal burghers (Stadtbürger). As in other European countries, the homogeneity of the state was to be emphasised. Thus, the question arose what impact this was to have on aliens residing on Austrian territory. The introductory survey of the development of the legal status of foreigners presented here shows the solutions adopted in Austria. Interest in the analysis of the development of citizenship and foreignness in the Habsburg Empire is fairly recent in Austria (cf. Heindl and Saurer 2000). As I will argue here, the legal discourse on aliens — traced in commentaries of the law, legal textbooks and manuals — as well as legislation concerning legal rights of aliens essentially points towards a gradual widening of the gap between citizens and foreigners. Only in the ‘constitutional’ period of the 1860s did the definition of citizen rights as political rights attempt to clearly mark foreigners as outsiders. In other respects their status varied, depending on economic and political interests and their implementation within the system of migration control. No comprehensive legislation ever reviewed the status of foreigners

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