Citizenship and cultural diversity in Europe: The nexus between public policies and individual level dynamics (completed)

Zeynep Yanasmayan

The main project of this research was conducted during a one-year fellowship at the MPI Fellow Group “Governance of Cultural Diversity” and dealt with the concept of citizenship. In the last decades, the scope of citizenship literature has widened immensely and the concept has gained a renewed emphasis. It has also come to be understood as the answer to increasing cultural diversity within European nation-states. This has led to the proliferation of studies focusing on citizenship qua policy rather than qua political theory. While these studies mainly concentrate on membership conditions and embrace a macro level analysis, there is considerably less scholarship on the implications of these policies at the micro level. Questions about the individual meaning attributed to citizenship, particularly by those perceived to be ‘outsiders’ to society, remain largely understudied. This project addressed this lacuna and assessed the role of policies in shaping individual perceptions of citizenship. It focused on the experiences of highly educated migrants from Turkey in three European countries: Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The comparative perspective is geared to underscore the variance in policies and examine its repercussions for individual perceptions. This project highlighted how the ‘new’ migration of highly educated Turkish citizens to Europe is endowed with a continuous notion of mobility that challenges conventional understandings of citizenship. However, it also shows the ways in which this mobility continues to be constrained by the nation-state and by public policies.

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