The unbearable lightness of being Swedish? On the ideological thinness of a liberal citizenship regime

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The unbearable lightness of being Swedish? On the ideological thinness of a liberal citizenship regime

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title The unbearable lightness of being Swedish? On the ideological thinness of a liberal citizenship regime
Author Fernandez, Christian
Date 2019
English abstract
The objective of this article is twofold. Firstly, I seek to improve understanding of Swedish citizenship by highlighting the particular traits of an open yet largely instrumental (non-sentimental) membership policy, which existing theories have not been able to fully account for. I argue that the liberal openness of Swedish citizenship should be attributed not only to a liberal ideology of pluralism and equality, but to a fairly administrative, sterile and pragmatic conception of citizenship that is largely dissociated from existing conceptions of nationhood, integration and societal membership. Secondly, and related to the first, I take issue with the widespread yet implicit theoretical notion of citizenship being defined by shared conceptions of the national demos. I argue that this connection varies and that it is significantly closer and stronger in some cases than in others, regardless of its lenience towards an ethnic or civic, monist or pluralist conception of the nation. While newer, post-national theories of citizenship offer valuable insights into the reshaping of citizenship, they systematically underestimate and, consequently, fail to account for the enduring differences between and idiosyncrasies of national citizenship regimes. To better capture this neglected dimension of the citizenship-nationhood nexus, I propose a distinction between ideologically thin and thick citizenship, with Sweden serving as an example of the first.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/1468796819843531 (link to publisher's fulltext.)
Publisher Sage
Host/Issue Ethnicities;4
Volume 19
ISSN 1468-7968
Language eng (iso)
Subject Citizenship
ideology
nationhood
post-national
liberal
multiculturalism
Sweden
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/30508 Permalink to this page
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