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Perspectives on Citizenship and Legal Institutions in Postcolonial Contexts

Policy
Institutions
EDI02
Shubha Prasad
European University Institute
Lillian Frost
Virginia Tech

This workshop responds to calls for critical interventions that prioritize interregional and postcolonial perspectives from the Global South (Sadiq and Tsourapas 2021) by examining the dimensions and dynamics of politics, citizenship, and legal institutions across postcolonial contexts. Although in recent years scholarship has expanded on these topics beyond the Global North, this work tends to be regime-centric, drawing stark lines between legal dynamics in democratic and autocratic regimes (Josua 2021; Mitchell, Ring, and Spellman 2013; Ginsburg and Moustafa 2008; Brown 2007), as well as state-centric, primarily examining these topics from the state’s perspective (Tsourapas 2018; Pimentel 2011; Mohapatra 2004; Brown 1997). This workshop aims to expand on these rich literatures and bridge these divides by studying law and society, as central components of citizenship, within and across regime types in postcolonial states as well as by featuring society-centered perspectives on how citizens and noncitizens interact with the law. The workshop topics aim to include, but are not limited to: law-implementation gaps, law-enforcing processes, group interactions with the courts, and civil society responses to the law concerning diverse policies related to citizenship. These include policy areas traditionally associated with citizenship, such as access to nationality, passports, and legal statuses, and those related to state-society relations more broadly, including access to education, healthcare, and work. The postcolonial focus highlights the enduring colonial impacts on these states’ legal systems and citizenship regimes and provides a fruitful approach to linking work on these topics in Europe to those in the Global South. The workshop papers will feature rigorous qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-method empirical analyses that engage diverse, cross-cutting literatures. These include literatures on repressive uses of law (Chenoweth 2017; Davenport 1996), colonial influences on legal institutions (Massad 2001; Charrad 2001; Das and Verma 1998), securitization of laws (Narzary 2021; Risør and Jacob 2018; Buzan et al. 1998), citizenship policy gaps (Hollifield, Martin, and Orrenius 2014; Sadiq 2008; Castles 2004; Hollifield 2004), citizenship policymaking (Lori 2019; Chung 2020), and civil society movements (Bradley 2005; Moon 2002). Research questions could include: -Under what conditions do democratic leaders use the law for repressive purposes? -How do colonial legal structures and practices manifest in postcolonial institutions and policies? -How does (non)citizenship emerge and operate in postcolonial contexts? Under what conditions do gaps emerge between policies in law and practice? This research merits more attention because laws, whether intentionally or not, can institutionalize and foster the marginalization of particular groups across regime types (Chung 2020; Massad 2001). This marginalization can be exacerbated through the securitization of laws, which has received extensive attention in Global North contexts (Wæver and Carlton 1993; Banai and Kreide 2017; Brown 2010) but merits more inquiry in Global South states. This workshop views laws as an opportunity to trace and analyze materialized forms of discrimination, particularly in contexts that have become increasingly difficult to study in person. Overall, this comparative analytical lens can advance and sharpen understandings of citizenship and legal institutions as well as highlight similarities across diverse contexts not typically studied together.

We expect a range of participants who study different facets of law and citizenship in their research on postcolonial contexts. These include scholars rooted in the broader political science fields of comparative politics, international relations, political theory, and public policy, as well as in more interdisciplinary fields such as: law and courts, law and society, legal studies, international law, citizenship and migration, comparative political institutions, regime studies, contentious politics, postcolonial studies, Middle Eastern studies, Latin American studies, South Asian studies, African studies, and Southeast and East Asian studies. The workshop would welcome diverse scholars from early career to senior positions who focus on different issue-areas and regions. One of the workshop’s aims is to bridge scholarly divides to generate new ideas and more clearly define similarities and differences in legal institutions and citizenship regimes in postcolonial contexts across policy areas, regions, and regimes. At the same time, it aims to bring together diverse scholars who can provide constructive feedback as well as generate ideas for collaborative research projects, such as co-authored papers and edited volumes. There is a wide range of topics the workshop papers could cover. Examples include: -Implications of colonial legacies, including influences on legal structures, laws, and the uses of laws, -Implementation of domestic laws, including those concerning nationality, passports, work, or education, -Implementation of international laws, including human rights, refugee, and other conventions, -Uses of the law for legalizing repression or institutionalizing nondemocratic rule, -Securitization of policy areas and extra-legal actions, -Tensions between international legal commitments and domestic political exigencies, -Interactions between the courts and society, -Implications of judicial and legal reforms, -Contentious politics concerning laws, regulations, or legal structures, and -Manifestations and institutionalizations of discrimination in law. This variety of topics would appeal to different research networks. Some of these include: -The Law and Society Association’s Collaborative Research Networks, including those on British Colonial Legalities, Comparative Constitutional Law and Legal Culture: Asia and the Americas, and Citizenship and Immigration, -The European University Institute’s Global Citizenship Observatory, -Cardiff University’s Socio-Legal Journals Global South Initiative, -IISJ Criminal Legalities in the Global South Meeting, -University of Helsinki’s Global South research theme, and -University of Liverpool’s Global South Legalities Research Project. We also would circulate the Workshop’s call for papers widely within our own scholarly networks. These include individuals as well as research groups, programs, and initiatives at or within: -The European University Institute, -Virginia Tech, -The George Washington University, -Georgetown University, -Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, -Harvard University, -Maastricht University, -European Scholars on South Asian International Relations, -United States Institute of Peace and the Minerva Research Initiative, -Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Section of the International Studies Association, -Migration and Citizenship Section of the American Political Science Association, -The Law and Society Association’s Collaborative Research Network on Displaced Peoples, -Project on Middle East Political Science, and -University of Jordan’s Center for Strategic Studies. Overall, we expect to receive a wide array of diverse proposals that would expand our knowledge of politics, citizenship, and legal institutions in postcolonial contexts.