Making Identities, Citizenship, Race and Culture: Effect of Transnational Communities and Diasporic Identities on Citizenship Rights

Effect of Transnational Communities and Diasporic Identities on Citizenship Rights

Citizenship was traditionally defined through the territorial and legislative limits of the nation-state. However, with advances in globalization, increased immigration for several purposes has led to a change in this definition. The concept of citizenship has taken a broader definition due to the inclusion of immigration, and international interactions. Maintaining state sovereignty in spite of this change in citizenship status is thus becoming significantly difficult (Baubock, 2009s). Citizenship involves equal membership in a sovereign country.

This implies that there are certain rights and freedoms that a state accords its citizens. With the rates of immigration resulting in the creation of emigrant states, nations have been forced to provide only external citizenship. This makes it difficult to decide which rights to accord citizens. Apart from this, other challenges lie in the provision of protection rights to external citizens since immigrants may feel disfavored by the law. There is also the challenge of deciding which political and civil rights are warranted to the immigrants.

Another challenge in the provision of citizen rights comes about for those considered to be transnational. For instance, while it may be necessary for citizens to have equal say in the formulation of laws that govern them, trans-nationals may not be equally represented. However, this issue can be addressed through inclusion into the citizenship of the host country in spite of frequent communication with family and relatives back home.

Apart from the normal citizen rights that the immigrants are entitled to, the rights have also extended to include other aspects beyond mere citizenship rights. For instance, immigrants are allowed to hold functions of cultural significance in their immigration countries. Through maintenance of their cultural practices such as religious rights, immigrants get to engage in the citizenship rights of the host country while keeping alive their native cultures as a form of distinctive identities (Goldring et al., 2013).

Because of the challenges posed by trans-nationalism, various countries have come up with laws to encourage dual citizenship. For example, the EU has provisions for multiple citizenships to individuals of transnational citizenship. Some countries in the EU have on the other hand made regulations that bar people from entry into those countries. Curtailing entrance into countries by immigrants translates to a limitation of citizenship rights by those countries. In particular, individuals of Arab descent have frequently faced discrimination in provision of citizenship rights in that they are prevented from immigrating into various countries. In cases where their immigration is allowed, they are limited in terms of access to jobs and are held in suspicion over security issues.

The European Union is considered one of the most effective trading blocs in the world. However, with some of the countries deciding to leave the bloc, the question remains concerning whether the EU offers an opportunity or a threat to the member states. The opportunities associated with the EU include provision of a common trading currency which has reduced trans-national costs; the union has also given the member states competitive advantage due to common currency and increased foreign investment (Stankovic, 2013).

Moreover, the EU is the strongest political union after the USA, resulting in the democratization of the member states. On the other hand, the threats associated with the EU include the potential loss of national identities due to the unionization of the entire region. In addition to this, the expansion of the EU is also a potential threat to the wage system with the capability of resulting in wage reduction.


Bauböck, Rainer, 2009. How migration transforms citizenship: international, multinational and transnational perspectives. Iwe-Working Paper Series

Goldring, Luin, et al., 2013. The Politics of Transnational Ties: Implications for Policy, Research, and Communities. Toronto: York University

Stanković, Milica, 2013. “The Advantages of Being a Member of the European Monetary Union and Its Influence on Trade in the Eurozone.” Škola Biznisa, Vol. 2: 30–46

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