A seminar with Per Mouritsen, Guest Professor in Memory of Willy Brandt at MIM, Malmö University and Professor of Political Science at Aarhus University, Denmark


Citizenship acquisition, in an increasing number of Western states, comes at a price. New members of the polity must meet a number of conditions, over and above a residence requirement of varying length, often including language proficiency, employment, and not having a criminal record – and maybe others, such as passing a knowledge test and signing a loyalty pledge. Scholars who have looked at this development empirically have mainly concerned themselves with it explaining it, either in terms of visible national differences or the overall restrictive trend. Only recently has attention been paid to the effects on naturalization propensity – and indeed on naturalization capacity – of the tightened regimes (e.g. Marten Vink’s work). More critical-normative perspectives have been mainly concerned with the illiberal nature of tests and requirements in terms of their content (e.g. national history questions), and less with their de facto restrictiveness, in terms of unreasonable, or even impossible conditionality.

The talk presents new registry based data on the restrictive nature – the ‘selection effect’ for refugees and family reunified – of Danish citizenship acquisition rules concerning language, employment and criminal record, which may also be used to model the restrictive effects of other regimes. I briefly contextualise these findings relative to standard arguments from the normative literature on criteria for demos-delimitation, and go on to present some new Scandinavian survey data from the ongoing GovCit-project on popular understandings of the value of citizenship and conceptions of reasonable naturalization requirements. These attitudes significantly converge between majorities and a number of minority groups, and between Norway and Denmark, (we do not yet have the Swedish data). In addition, they are at some distance from the official policies of the most restrictive countries. I discuss the significance of both these findings.    

The Migration Seminar series is hosted by The Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM) at Malmö University. Click here for information on upcoming seminars.

Gathering for the seminar is at 14:05 on the ground floor next to the Reception in Niagara.