• Ana Margheritis (University of Southampton)
  • Luicy Pedroza (GIGA Hamburg)
  • Daniela Vintila (CEDEM, University of Liege)


Citizenship studies have become a broad interdisciplinary research field that overlaps strongly with migration studies. In contrast with wider sociological conceptions of citizenship, we study the legal and political core of citizenship as a status of membership in a polity and its attached legal rights and obligations. Our research is comparative and institutional. We examine how access to citizenship status and to core citizenship rights of voting and political participation is regulated by law and public policies. We seek to understand how the underlying norms change over time and differ across countries. We examine the politics of citizenship that include the political participation and mobilisations of emigrants as well as domestic political mobilisations in support of, or opposed to immigration.

MIGCITPOL focuses on three overlapping research topics: 

(1) Comparative research on citizenship laws and citizenship rights: the acquisition and loss of citizenship and quasi-citizenship statuses and access to particular political participation rights

Migration poses a challenge to traditional notions of citizenship as equal and inclusive membership in territorial nation-states. It creates populations of non-citizen residents and non-resident citizens. States have responded to this challenge by partly disconnecting citizenship status and rights, by accepting plural citizenships, by creating statuses of internal and external quasi-citizenship, by changing the rules of acquisition of citizenship for immigrants and their descendants, and by strengthening citizenship links and voting rights of emigrants and “diasporas”. We analyse patterns and trends with regard to these institutional changes and study configurations in which independent citizenship regimes impact on each other (through EU citizenship and its free movement rights or through migration between EU member states and third countries). Our research builds on comparative data and analyses collected first by the NATAC project and now available in a much expanded version at the EUDO Citizenship Observatory.

We do not only study citizenship laws as the outcome of political and legal decision making, but also the impact of individual transitions between different citizenship statuses on migrants’ economic opportunities, political participation and representation, and mobility patterns. 

(2) Transnational political participation: migrants’ political activities in relation to source countries and political opportunity structures/constraints created by home country governments

Together with the increase of economic, social or religious influence of emigrants on the home society, citizens abroad have been playing a growing role in the politics of the home country. The strong proliferation of external voting mechanisms around the world as well as of electoral campaigns conducted by homeland political parties in countries with large concentrations of emigrants demonstrate that emigrants’ political support is becoming more important for political actors in countries of origin. The spread of these reforms and practices raises, however, a series of important questions: Why are states and political parties trying to reach out to citizens abroad? What is the legitimacy of participating in home country politics from abroad? How does it affect the conduct of political campaigns and the policies of sending countries towards citizens abroad? How does it affect integration processes and how do receiving societies react to this development? Building on previous work on transnational politics conducted within this research group, we now aim to make theoretical and empirical contributions to the new – though fast growing – literature on external voting.

(3) Immigrants’ political participation in receiving countries and political mobilisation for and against immigration

Immigration and its visibility have changed in many European countries over recent decades, in particular when it became clear that immigrants planned to settle permanently and started to demand to participate socially and politically in their countries of settlement. Moreover, the presence of immigrants has become a politically contested issue in various European countries, but not in all. Finally, the ways in which immigration has become politicised also differs across countries. Therefore, our aim is to bring together researchers who focus on immigration, integration and the political arena with a particular interest in the questions why and when potential conflicts become politicised, when and why they do not become politicised, and whether this has to do with institutional conditions. These questions are explored in the project SOM (Support and Opposition to Migration) within the 7th EU Framework Programme.

 By bringing them together these partly overlapping topics into in a single research group we provide both a critical mass for the sustainability of research and a platform that facilitates the improvement of work through synergies and critical feedback from researchers working on related topics. Apart from empirical research and explanatory theory, we also promote applied and contextual normative analyses on each of these three topics. We believe that normative political theory can be improved if it builds on the results of empirical research, and that the policy implications of the latter can be critically informed by normative analyses. 

The MIGCITPOL Standing Committee aims to:

  • Organise thematic panels at IMISCOE conferences, in which full draft papers based on completed academic research are presented to a competent audience;
  • Promote exchange or common standards with regard to the use of concepts, theories and methodological approaches within the field;
  • Provide a platform for exchange and presentation of projects by PhD students and young researchers;
  • Facilitate the formation of project teams and proposals by providing networking opportunities.

The key role of the Standing Committee is that of a facilitator and promoter rather than that of an academic “production unit”. Whereas the Standing Committee will not seek to generate new research proposals that involve the whole group, it will enable its members to start new research initiatives on more specific topics.


  • Jean-Thomas Arrighi (European University Institute)
  • Rainer Bauböck (European University Institute)
  • Pieter Bevelander (Malmö University)
  • Maria Teresa Capiali (University of Montréal)
  • Rosalia Condorelli (University of Catania (Sicily)
  • Gianni D’Amato (University of Neuchâtel)
  • Gerard-René De Groot (Maastricht University)
  • Costica Dumbrava (Maastricht University)
  • Jean-Michel Lafleur (University of Liège)
  • Marco Martiniello (University of Liège)
  • Floris Peters (Maastricht University)
  • Wiebke Sievers (Austrian Academy of Sciences)
  • Ricard Zapata-Barrero (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
  • Olivier Vonk (Maastricht University)



  • Rainer Bauböck and Thomas Faist (eds) (2010) “Diaspora and Transnationalism. Concepts, Theories and Methods.” Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Rainer Bauböck, Bernhard Perchinig and Wiebke Sievers (eds) (2009) “Citizenship Policies in the New Europe.” Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
  • Marco Martiniello and Jean-Michel Lafleur (eds) (2008) “Transnational Politics from a Transatlantic Perspective,” Special issue of the Journal Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31 (4).

Policy Briefs

  • Rainer Bauböck (2008) “Policy Brief 13: Ties across borders: the growing salience of transnationalism and diaspora politics.”
  • Rainer Bauböck (2006) “Policy brief 2: The acquisition and loss of nationality in 15 EU states. Results of the comparative project NATAC.”

Panels at IMISCOE conferences

Madrid 2014

  • The Boundaries of Citizenship – Naturalization, Integration, Membership - organized by Pieter Bevelander (Malmö University) and Christian Fernández (Malmö University) 

Malmö 2013

  • Comparing Citizenship and the Franchise for Migrants: Law, Politics and Participation – organized by Derek Hutcheson (MIM Malmö), Rainer Bauböck (EUI, Florence), Jo Shaw (Edinburgh University).           

Amsterdam 2012

  • Citizenship and voting in post-communist Europe: a snapshot at practices in the enlarged EU and its neighbours - panel organized by Jelena Dzankic (European University Institute)
  • From Attitudes to Populist Mobilization in Europe –organized by Pieter Bevelander (Malmö University) and Gianni D’Amato (University of Neuchâtel)

Warsaw 2011

  • Money and membership: Financial conditions and impacts of citizenship – organized by Rainer Bauböck (European University Institute) and Joachim Stern (University of Vienna)
  • From Attitudes to Populist Mobilization in Europe - organized by organized by Pieter Bevelander (Malmö University) and Gianni D’Amato (University of Neuchâtel)
  • Migrants and external voting in the EU – organized by Jean-Michel Lafleur (University of Liège)

Liège 2010

  • Populist Mobilisation in Europe - organized by organized by Gianni D’Amato (University of Neuchâtel) and Pieter Bevelander (Malmö University)
  • The Socio-political Mobilisation of Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities through Popular Arts and Culture – organized by Marco Martiniello (University of Liège), Jean-Michel Lafleur (University of Liège) and Wiebke Sievers (Austrian Academy of Science)

Stockholm 2009

  • Researching into external voting – organized by Paolo Boccagni (University of Trento)
  • Highly skilled Indian migrants – organized by Aurélie Varrel (French National Centre for Scientific Research)
  • Migration Control, Justice and Exclusion – Migration, Citizenship and Normative Theory – organized by Albert Kraler (International Centre for Migration Policy Development) and Rainer Bauböck (European University Institute)

Other workshops and conferences


  • Conference on Minorities and Migrants: Citizenship Policies and Political Participation - organised by EUDO Citizenship in cooperation with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (Florence, 2-3 May 2013)
  • FRACIT Conference Access to Electoral Rights: Citizenship, Residence and the Franchise in Local, Regional, National and European election - organized and hosted by the European Parliament Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO) (Brussels, 26 February 2013)
  • ACIT Conference Access to citizenship and its impact on immigration integration: EU final event – organized by Migration Policy Group (Brussels, 22 February 2013)


  • Workshop The ethics of migration (Florence, 21-22 May 2012) - organised by Rainer Bauböck (European University Institute)
  • Workshop Democratic representation and diversity in societies of immigration (Barcelona, 22 June 2012) - organized by Ricard Zappato (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) and Rainer Bauböck (European University Institute)


  • Conference External Voting in the EU: New Prospects and Challenges for Research and Policy-making (Rome, 26 -27 May 2011) - organised by Jean-Michel Lafleur (University of Liège) and Paolo Boccagni (Trento University). Co-funded by the FNRS.
  • EUDO Dissemination Conference on Inclusive democracy in Europe (European Parliament, Brussels, 9-10 November 2011) – organised by EUDO Citizenship

 Agenda of activities 2014/2015

  • Prepare 2-3 panels at IMISCOE 2015 conference

Related research projects