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The Divisive Power of Citizenship

English title The Divisive Power of Citizenship
Applicant Herren-Oesch Madeleine
Number 184860
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Europainstitut Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline General history (without pre-and early history)
Start/End 01.04.2019 - 31.01.2023
Approved amount 944'400.00
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Keywords (9)

Migrationsgeschichte (Migration History); Imperialismus (Imperialism); Globalgeschichte (Global History); Internationale Beziehungen (Int. Relations); Citizenship Studies; Digital Humanities; Historiographie (Historiography); Prosopographie (Prosopography); Kolonialgeschichte (Colonial History)

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Der Entzug der Staatsbürgerschaft ist in westlichen Demokratien zu einem vieldiskutierten Antiterrorinstrument geworden. Der potenzielle Verlust des Bürgerrechts stellt allerdings ein zentrales Versprechen moderner Staatlichkeit in Frage, nämlich das von Hannah Arendt formulierte «Recht, Rechte zu haben». Das Projekt untersucht die Bedeutung der Staatsbürgerschaft aus der Perspektive der Auflösung transkulturellen Gesellschaften am Beispiel der privilegierter westlicher Eliten Ostasiens als neuen Zugang zur Globalgeschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts.
Lay summary

Im 19. Jahrhundert entwickelten sich in Ostasien transkulturelle Gesellschaften, deren westliche Herkunft mit den lokalen Rahmenbedingungen eng verflochten waren. Die zentrale Bedeutung der Staatsbürgerschaft nach dem Ende des Ersten Weltkrieges hatte auf diese Gesellschaften ambivalente Auswirkungen. Am Beispiel vormals privilegierter Kosmopoliten und deren zunehmende Marginalisierung als feindliche Ausländer soll die zwiespältige Funktion staatsbürgerlicher Rechte vorgestellt werden. Das Projekt entwickelt eine internationale Forschungsumgebung, die es erlaubt, bislang nicht zugängliche Quellen mit neuen digitalen Methoden zu erschliessen und über disziplinäre Grenzen zusammenzuarbeiten. Zwei Dissertationsprojekte untersuchen die Internierung von feindlichen Ausländern während des Pazifikkrieges und die Politik der Aberkennung von Staatsbürgerschaften durch Vichy Frankreich in Asien. Ein Publikationsprojekt diskutiert die Zu- und Aberkennung von Staatsbürgerschaft als Angelpunkt einer «Globalgeschichte von unten» und folgt der dramatischen Transformation von privilegierten Kosmopoliten zu Staatenlosen und rechtlosen Insassen von Internierungslagern. Die Frage nach den Auswirkungen von Staatsbürgerschaft im globalen Kontext fokussiert auf die bislang wenig berücksichtigte Auflösung transkultureller Gesellschaften.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 29.03.2019

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Abstract

The erosion of citizenship, a phenomenon of totalitarian and failing states, has become a major point of contestation in Western democracies. This incongruity has found its expression in court cases about the violation of European citizenship that involved national denaturalization decisions, in parliamentary debates about the states’ right of protection against terrorism and its incompatibility with human rights and in international obligations to avoid statelessness. Such debates indicate that citizenship has begun to lose its almost magic promise, described by Hannah Arendt as the “right to have rights” (Arendt 1951). This reformatting and renegotiation of social coherence beyond, against, and also within the nation state has fueled scholarly debates on the conditions of post-national citizenship. Introducing the concept of ‘divisive power’ to highlight the equivocal and disruptive aspects of citizenship, this project investigates its fundamentally ambivalent character and combines new approaches in EU citizenship studies with historical case studies. As a productive contrast to EU related debates on multilayered citizenships, the citizens investigated historically are those not living in their country of origin but in Asian countries, where they had built multi-layered transcultural communities since the late 19th century. The examples focus on the loss of citizenship and imprisonment due to the bad luck of owning the ‘wrong’ citizenship between 1919 and 1945 ? a period of simultaneous enforcement and destruction of citizenship. The research design allows to analyze the tensions of colonial privilege, racism and nationalism, the building of transcultural social fabrics, and their destruction and disentanglement based on and related to the granting and the deprivation of citizenship. Subproject (A) discusses the question whether the divisive power of citizenship works as a key element in a new history of the 20th century. Project (B) investigates the legislation of denaturalization by focusing on France, and project (C) discusses the transformation of the members of the international foreign community in Asia from a minority benefitting from colonial privileges into ‘enemy aliens’ during the Pacific War. The subprojects are closely intertwined by a specific research environment, the Collaboratory. Firstly, it serves as an interdisciplinary interface between the project members and leading scholars in citizenship studies and international human rights law, and connects academics internationally, especially with Japan. Secondly, the Collaboratory encompasses an openly accessible data collection called Documentary Chain Pacific War (DCPW), which addresses the problem of knowledge production about citizens living abroad. DCPW will allow tracing the lives of thousands of citizens living abroad and offer information about those interned during the Pacific War. The project brings previously unavailable documents into focus, while the empirical findings will challenge future visions of citizenship. A series of publications, sustainable access to the DCPW and an innovative, interdisciplinary and international research environment will guarantee the durability of the project outcomes in terms of content as well as research infrastructure.
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