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Exit as voice: transnational citizenship practices in response to Denmark’s family unification policy

Wagner, Rikke (2013) Exit as voice: transnational citizenship practices in response to Denmark’s family unification policy. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

Modern western understandings of citizenship are closely tied to the nation state. This is the political community where members are expected to exercise their freedoms and practice solidarity. When individuals claim rights across borders and move in and out of different polities the state-centric citizenship model is disturbed. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in the European Union where borders are transformed by transnational migration and internal mobility. This has led some scholars to welcome the emergence of a ‘postnational citizenship’ of human rights. Others argue for the need to protect a comprehensive state membership based on shared identity and active participation. The dichotomy of ‘thick and thin’ citizenship warrants critical attention, however. It risks romanticizing national or postnational membership, overlooking historical and contemporary power struggles and change. Agonistic democratic theory offers a particularly promising way of moving beyond the binary. It constructs a dynamic relationship between citizenship rights, participation and identification. Political conflicts over liberties and membership are seen as practices that re-constitute civic actors. By claiming and contesting rights migrants and citizens take part in the ongoing re-founding of polities and develop, reinforce or change their democratic subjectivity. But agonism like its intellectual counterpart deliberative democracy focuses exclusively on public ‘voice’. It neglects to explore the civic potential of exit, entry and re-entry so integral to migration and EU citizenship. In the thesis I address this problem and develop an agonistic conception of citizenship and cross-border movement. I do so through a heuristic empirical case study of transnational immigration and EU mobility in the Danish family unification dispute. In response to restrictive national policy many have used the freedom of movement in the EU to sidestep or contest domestic rules. Based on 30 narrative interviews with Danish-international couples I draw out and conceptualize practices of contestatory transnational citizenship.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Rikke Wagner
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Phillips, Anne and White, Jonathan
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/815

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