The (re)turn to Conditional Citizenship
Patti Tamara Lenard
Board Room, 2 Priory Road
Centre for Ethnicity and Citizenship Seminar Series
Board Room, 2 Priory Road - Thursday 12th February, 4pm
This talk will be delivered by Guest Speaker Patti Tamara Lenard from the University of Ottowa
The recent revitalization and adoption of “citizenship revocation” laws raise a range of difficult moral and political questions. These laws permit a state to revoke the citizenship of individuals convicted of crimes described as “seriously prejudicial to the interests of the state,” and which include among other things a range of terrorism-related offenses. Defenders of revocation laws suggest that citizenship can legitimately be revoked from those who demonstrate, by their actions, that they do not recognize its value; citizenship is thereby said to be conditioned on the right sorts of behaviours and attitudes. This paper investigates the ways in citizenship is conditional, and whether and when this conditionality is legitimate in a democratic state. To do so, I first tease out the multiple dimensions of citizenship. Second, I observe that all of these dimensions are, or have been, described as conditional on appropriate behaviours and attitudes. Using an analysis of recent revocation laws as context, I then offer an account of when conditions on citizenship are legitimate in democratic states; I argue that only conditions that apply equally, in principle and in practice, can they be justified in a democratic state. As a result, revocation laws (and many others) will prove incompatible with democratic principle.