Annettes Super Basic Citizenship Case Study ME Background

  • Slides: 6
Download presentation
Annette’s Super Basic Citizenship Case Study

Annette’s Super Basic Citizenship Case Study

ME

ME

Background Mother: Swedish (jus sanguinis through father) Father: Refugee from China (stateless); after marriage

Background Mother: Swedish (jus sanguinis through father) Father: Refugee from China (stateless); after marriage became Swedish (through naturalization due to refugee immigrant program They married in Hong Kong (British colony) Me: 1 st Passport = Hong Kong British 2 nd Passport = Swedish (jus sanguinis through father) 3 rd Passport = USA (naturalization through immigration)

Gender and Citizenship My mother was born in Sweden, but I was not. Sweden

Gender and Citizenship My mother was born in Sweden, but I was not. Sweden does not give citizenship through the principle of jus soli, but rather through jus sanguinis. Most countries, in fact, operate under the principle of jus sanguinis, with the USA as the chief exception. Until the late 1970 s, however, Swedish citizenship was given through the father. So, although my mother was Swedish, I was not eligible for Swedish citizenship until my father became Swedish. He later became Swedish, not through marriage to my mother, but through a refugee immigration program. Although Swedish law was eventually changed to allow citizenship to pass through the mother, this case illustrates the way in which citizenship is never apart from social concerns, but, just like the law, reflects larger ideas about which bodies have value and who is worth more. In many ways, Sweden is quite progressive, so it is surprising to think how their citizenship law was so recently explicitly patriarchal. Prior to the late 70 s, if a Swedish woman married a non. Swede, she was effectively giving up the claim for Swedish citizenship for her children. My situation was further complicated by my father being stateless. When he fled China, he was giving up his citizenship. For many years, he could only travel with a whole bunch of documents laying out his status.

Geopolitics and Citizenship My first passport was a Hong Kong one through jus soli

Geopolitics and Citizenship My first passport was a Hong Kong one through jus soli since I was born there. I could travel and work in Hong Kong, but it did not give me any rights to live and work in Britain. In other words, having a Hong Kong passport was not the same as being British. Given that Hong Kong did not have an independent government, this meant that its citizens had no voting rights. Hong Kong citizenship remains complicated to this day, even after the handover back to China in 1997. Hong Kong is considered a Special Administrative Region of China and operates under separate rules (in many ways similar to the prior colonial situation). Mainland Chinese, for example, have to apply to live in Hong Kong citizens have a local government, and have voting rights, but the relationship of the local government to the Chinese government is fraught. Because I resided in Hong Kong for the requisite number of years, I am eligible for a Chinese passport. The murky statis of a Hong Kong passport tells us that citizenship is always subject to the geopolitical status of the issuing body (Hong Kong is not a country, after all). Furthermore, not all passports within a nation or issuing body are created equal. Although Hong Kong was under British rule, its citizens were not accorded equal rights with other Britons. This is obviously informed by racism and xenophobia. We might think about this in the context of the United States today with Puerto Rico, which is a United States territory, but whose citizens are not accorded the voting and representational rights of other US Citizens.

Dual Citizenship When I became a US citizen, Sweden had changed their law to

Dual Citizenship When I became a US citizen, Sweden had changed their law to make dual citizenship legal. This was done partly in response to their entry into the European Union. In other words, once they joined the EU, they had to rethink what it meant to carry a Swedish passport. Some countries still do not allow for dual citizenship. The concept of dual citizenship is interesting because it challenges what it means to be a citizen in the first place. When I became a US citizen I had to pledge my loyalty to the US, but what does this mean when you carry another passport as well? For many, a passport is a logistical issue—it enables travel, etc. For example, I use my Swedish to leave the US and my US one to return (the lines are shorter). But passports and citizenship are also entangled with nationalism, patriotism, and identity in complex, sometimes contradictory ways. As globalization takes hold, will there come a time when passports become disconnected with nations? We can already see a version of this with some nations that “sell” passports for money.