Admission to Citizenship Author(s): Herman R. Van Gunsteren Source: Ethics, Vol. 98, No. 4 (Jul., 1988), pp.

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Ethics 98 (July 1988): 731-741 3 1988 by The University of Chicago. an oikos (socioeconomic security). 0014-1704/88/9804-0009$01. 91.00 731 . So much is this claim to intellectual independence recognized as a basis of our social life that moral philosophy takes its stand at that very point. It is a scarce resource that can remain a resource only as long as certain boundaries are maintained. As Walzer concludes in his attempt to develop such a scheme. All rights reserved. Citizenship is an institutional status from within which a person can address governments and other citizens and make claims about human rights.: Syracuse University Press. Human rights need institutional backing in order to be effective. "The principle of mutual aid can only modify and not 1.Admission to Citizenship Herman R. and cultural bound. citizenship loses its point or cutting edge. place. is time. Schemes to provide citizen status for every human being in the world have not been convincing. van Gunsteren Our social interaction consists very much in telling one another what right thinking is and passing blame on wrong thinking. This is indeed how we build the institutions. Efforts to develop and practice global schemes for ajust distribution of local citizenship so that no human being will be without it have not been convincing either. citizenship (political and legal standing). Prominent among these is citizenship. The price for effective standing and equality among citizens apparently is inequality between citizens and noncitizens. between insiders and outsiders. When applied at the world level. Citizenship. How Institutions Think (Syracuse. N. Efforts to develop a world citizenship have foundered on the necessarily local character of citizenship. GLOBAL JUSTICE AND LOCAL CITIZENSHIP In order to be a person one needs a home base: a culture. as we have known it up till now. 1986). squeezing each other's ideas into a common shape so that we can prove rightness by sheer numbers of independent assent. p. Human rights are important but in themselves are insufficient as a basis for personhood in the present world.Y. Mary Douglas. This is why Durkheim's idea that the social group acts like one mind is so repugnant.

freedom of organization (time. money. I address this question from within a particular conception of citizenship. stateless persons. 1980). doing something. 257. expertise). judgment by one's peers (citizen judges). Conn. I differ from a theorist like Walzer who tries to develop a global perspective and brings in local considerations only as a second best after he has demonstrated that a global perspective gives too little guidance and that practical admissions policies are dominated by local considerations anyway. . 51. What to do then? I propose to steer a middle course between ineffectual globalism and immoral localism. The global perspective is to be used not as a blueprint but as a corrective to localism.: Yale University Press. 1983). infor2. Citizenship is more than a status. It is to be improved on the basis of both global criticism and local experience and constraints. A citizen is he who has those two qualities to such a degree that he is and remains capable of both ruling and being ruled. socioeconomic security. culture. it is an office. Autonomy andjudgment are both conditions for and intended outcomes of citizen action. CITIZENSHIP What is a citizen? Citizenship is an answer to the question. and knowledge (communicative competence. p. Citizens have autonomy and judgment. The local citizen perspective should not be suppressed or merely accepted as a regrettable remnant of irrational loyalties. SpheresofJustice (Oxford: Martin Robertson. exercising judgment is not the same as stating one's subjective and arbitrary opinion. as being dependent on nothing and no one except oneself. "Who am I?" and "What should I do?" when posed in the public sphere. It implies acting.732 Ethics July 1988 transform admissions policies rooted in a particular community's understanding of itself. My primary interest is in developing a robust and defensible local Dutch liberal democratic conception of citizenship and then to inquire what guidance it gives on the nasty problems of admission of those who wish to acquire it. SocialJusticein the LiberalState (New Haven. but it should rather be used as an indispensable basis for personhood. bringing something about. It is too often morally unacceptable in cases involving guest workers. however. The way to work toward globalism is to work with local pieces. Autonomy is not the same as having no ties."2 Simply accepting differential treatment of local citizens and noncitizens will not do. The conditions for citizenship that have been developed in liberal democracies are political participation. p. In what follows I shall look at the question of admission to citizenship from a local perspective. In this. Michael Walzer. and refugees from tyrannical regimes (these states violate citizenship and human rights requirements to such a degree that their 'citizens' are de facto not better off than stateless persons). See also Bruce Ackerman.

Mary Douglas. and the arbitrariness of citizen judgments. supraindividual entities? In ordinary language. and renamed role or other behavior). Isn't the individual. and others has broken out of this impasse. how he acquires his values and truthshow he critically checks and resets and thereby his preferences-and them remains in the dark. who is supposed to be free and capable of judgment. like an ideal without much practical significance. for instance. by protection of fundamental human rights. and distaste for military service (older generations have fought for the citizen's right to bear arms). citizenship has no distinctive power. Giddens. Why is it that such a central political concept does not arouse strong feelings and well-elaborated ideas? Because of insiders. tax fraud and evasion. those who want asylum).g. and therefore it can provide you with neither power nor identity.. the gap between ideal and reality. citizenship is a matter of fact. such as Nazi occupation. INDIVIDUALS AND OTHER ACTORS How individuals connect and depend on other associations. or the relations between parts and wholes. as we know from survey research. It is always difficult to see and understand the ways in which things taken for granted are reproduced. The dangers that this blind spot poses are increased because the classical theory of citizenship. The outcome of citizen action is checked or controlled by continuing public debate between citizens. using an avalanche . 'citizen' is a residual concept used to refer to powerless members of the political community. I shall briefly indicate how. depth interviews. On the basis of modern insights three of these can be remedied or circumvented: the relation between individuals and supraindividual entities. Recent theorizing by Rom Harre. Citizenship is a rather bleak and lifeless idea. something that is self-evidently taken for granted. and by the judgment of independent courts of law. Anthony Giddens. while in rational choice theory there are no historically embodied actors (the choosing actor is an abstraction. Everyone around you has it. At the same time citizenship is coveted and valued by outsiders (e. as outlined above. as it were. Internally. The societal reproduction of matters self-evidently taken for granted often becomes visible only when they have ceased to be self-evident. Also a gradual increase of hesitations and interruptions of such reproduction processes are often not perceived. what he is precisely through the fact that he is part of larger. The others derive power and influence from what distinguishes them from ordinary citizens. Within a sociologistic approach there remains no place for action (action is explained away. has remained problematic for the social sciences because of a recurrent failure to develop an adequate theory of action. has a number of notorious shortcomings. preferences are either postulated or simply accepted in one of the guises in which they reveal themselves). at least not before they have increased beyond repair.van Gunsteren Admissionto Citizenship 733 mation). This sounds like ideology. It only becomes visible at its boundaries or in cases of disasters.

systems. The self/citizen is indeed historically and socially produced. Giddens and others propose a middle position. Actorship is an emergent property of social relations. Later thinkers criticized this vision. 1982). normative conception) and practice. freely transform themselves into citizens and a political community. The traditional question whether a citizen is or is not a basic/founding element of the polity can be better answered now. 5.3 Individuals are both product and producers of social relations of which they form parts. see Michael J.6 Ideals and ideas should be seen in 3." working with pieces of "material"that are historically and socially available. a product of passing historical patterns of interaction and conceptions of the self. This holds for the ideal of the Enlightenment. Structure and Contradictions in Social Analysis (London: Macmillan. Acting is "bricolage. once having been produced it becomes a relatively independent source of transformation of social relations that generated it in the first place. moreover. Earlier thinkerspolitical atomists-conceived of separate bodies as separate individuals. In the debate between Socrates and Thrasymachus about justice4 and in Kant's considerations of political expediency. develops a theory of double structuration. The end of the socalled era of the individual. often there is no way back. Liberalismand the Limits of Justice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. b. and immutable ideals and.5 we find a strict separation between idea (ideal. 4. so much the worse for practice. The choosing self. This position provides so little hold for people who have to act in practice that they reject the ideas as useless and improvise their own solutions. taugt aber nicht fur die Praxis. a given empirical reality? Neither ideals nor reality are simply given in this way. Republic. on the other. the historical reality in which they emerged is an essential condition for their meaningful pursuit. not a quality that every human being has by nature. and levels of provision cannot continue to function without citizen independence (autonomy and judgment). of humanistic thinking.zasic. . would be near. independence of the citizen becomes. 1. if they wished to do so. a criterion for resetting and reordering such relations. For example. CentralProblemsin Social Theory: Action. bk. Why not abandon the scheme of. Plato. Sandel. "Uber den Gemeinspruch: Das mag in der Theorie richting sein. they argued. in the sense that modern complex social relations. 6. 1979). Immanuel Kant.734 Ethics July 1988 of concepts and words. Ideais have been historically produced. This holds also for the ideal of an absolutely free individual. ARISTOTELIAN VERSUS KANTIAN CITIZENSHIP The perspective developed here makes the gap between the theory and the practice of citizenship less forbidding and barren. If practice does not fit the idea. on the one hand. as persons who could. Anthony Giddens. which presupposes the existence of traditions against which to fight." lecture given in 1793. who is determined by nothing external to his free will. For many ideals. was a myth.rational. Such an individual is nothing.

one needs to inquire in which historical institutions they have become embodied. Striving for the realization of citizenship. a revival of interest in judgment. the budget deficit. and Beiner. etc. Habermas. Exclusive attention to autonomy is not sufficient. There are specific requirements for admission to. not a safe possession of empiricists or normative theorists. removal from. This is the realm of debate and criticism situated between 'friends.). On the basis of the foregoing we can review and repair the traditional notion of citizenship a little. it does not follow that judgment cannot be argued about and that it is irremediably subjective. and not a Kantian. In sum. One is held responsible for one's judgment-and based thereupon-by one's equals. Presently we are witnessing.' Debate and criticism concerning judgment rely on topoi (noncontroversial common starting points of reasoning) and rhetoric. they say. notion of citizenship. then. fortunately. JUDGMENT A third weakness of the classical theory of citizenship lies in its lack of attention to and analysis ofjudgment. Until recently. in those situations that require a decision. Citizenship is in the making. Thus a conception of citizenship is inherently related to a specific historical community. A republic . We exercise judgment. as for example in the work of Gadamer. Citizenship is an office in a historical community. Following this approach we end up with an Aristotelian. In order to decide if and to what extent someone is autonomous we have to ascertain if and to what extent he is capable of sound judgment. by citizens. All public action can be judged in terms of its consequences for citizenship (just as it can be judged in terms of its consequences for justice. Citizenjudgments were considered to be subjective and therefore immune to scientific or rational criticism. In particular. It is at stake in all public action. The renewed interest in judgment makes a more balanced approach to both components of citizenship-autonomy and judgmentpossible. and continuation in this office. but for which there is not a decisive 'automatic' formula. One is expected to understand and acknowledge their positions because of a shared history and present for action situation. and which nevertheless contain elements that cannot be made immune to criticism by labeling them as 'subjective. Civil servants and politicians do not cease to be ordinary citizens when they hold office. A republic is a polity that is ruled and inhabited by citizens. and the nonrational individual preferences and ideologies of 'free' citizens on the other. that is. citizenship is the primary office. citizen theorists were ruled by the unfruitful dichotomy of the 'rational' and 'empirical' knowledge of scientific and other experts on the one hand. including its institutionally embodied aspirations and possibilities for criticizing the community and its institutions. from the fact that judgment is not objective.van Gunsteren Admissionto Citizenship 735 their specific relation to a specific historical reality. is striving for the best that is possible in the given circumstances. The office itself can only be reproduced by its actual exercise. In a republic.' cocitizens.

be able and willing to make his actions conform to his talk. What this comes down to in Dutch admission practice is that prospective citizens are required to know the Dutch language and to respect the laws of the land (this is shown by their not having committed major criminal offenses during their stay in the country). from ajob. In a community that values autonomy and judgment of its members. Requirementa. The prospective citizen may. He must. its forms of life and institutions within which its members think and act. Does it improve the quality of citizenship. its past and future. or the welfare state. does it enlarge the set of people who are admitted to citizenship. Requirementc. does citizenship remain a realistic option for future generations? Answers to these questions cannot be given here because they depend on judgment in specific historical situations for which no general formulas or laws can be decisive.-The prospective citizen must be capable of dialogic performance. Only people who have certain capabilities can act as citizens. (b) competence to act as a member of this particular polity. What can be indicated here. however. He must. and to form his judgment on the basis of such dialogue. social security. the prospective citizens should have a reasonably secure access to the means of their continued existence. -The prospective citizen must be capable and willing to be a member of this particular historical community. be ready to argue with other citizens. also within limits. Requirementb.736 Ethics July 1988 can be conceived as a program for the reproductionn of citizens. this is obviously not a requirement of pure conformity. Requirements for admission that follow from the conception of citizenship outlined above are (a) general citizen competence. have secure and legitimate income claims on the state that he wants to become a citizen of.-In order not to be forced to sell themselves or their autonomous judgment into dependence. is the direction in which answers may be found and the legitimacy (from the point of view of citizenship) of various constraints that such answers are supposed to satisfy. Posing admission requirements is not in principle illegitimate. within limits. on various grounds. to talk and listen to them. ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS What guidance does this revised conception of citizenship give in matters of admission? An admission decision should be judged in terms of its consequences for citizenship. and (c) access to an oikos. But of course his applying for citizenship can in itself not create or reinforce such claims. A republic may act only insofar as this is necessary for the design and implementation of such a program. . for example. But it is a requirement of knowledge of the language and the culture and of acknowledgment of those institutions that foster the reproduction of citizens who are capable of autonomous and responsible judgment. They must own property or have access to another source of income.

to be exercised exclusively at the moment of entry onto the territory. that expulsion from citizenship against one's will is never permitted. That is. . Entry decisions must often be made quickly and on the basis of insufficient information. p. if one does not apply the requirements too rigorously. The objection is mistaken on two counts.8 7. that such a growth process is clearly under way.: Yale University Press. they leave ample room for political discretionary judgment. (b) culture and identity." over resident aliens who live among them but have no legally guaranteed access to citizenship. He maintains that "naturalization . Therefore a simple appeal to the principle of equal treatment will not do. merits serious attention. Further on I shall argue that the position of metic is only acceptable when its duration is limited. every resident and worker must be offered the opportunities of citizenship. Walzer does not seem to be the kind of person who will say "When in doubt. All one may ask for is clear intentional and behavioral indications that the prospective citizen will "grow into" these requirements in due time. Can one ask that much from newcomers? Yes. between firstclass and second-class citizens. Although these are stiff requirements. often voiced in Dutch parliamentary debates. Conn. Another objection to these requirements. Quod non. Too much room. the citizens who decide about admission exercise tyranny over "metics." Thus many will be admitted who do not fulfill the requirements of citizenship. then. keep out. Peter Schuck and Rogers Smith claim that the decision to naturalize should be entirely political and discretionary. his argument that no democratic polity can allow a distinction between citizens and metics. In the second place."7 If naturalization involves discretion. . Walzer. or discretion. and (c) means of life and autonomy are implicit in the conception of citizenship outlined above. 1982). Citizenship Illegal Aliensin theAmerican Polity (New Haven. according to Walzer. These are not minor claims. What is at issue in the first place is precisely whether newcomers will acquire the right to equal treatment with Dutch citizens. This is highly impractical. withoutConsent: 8. and only then make decisions about citizenship? Although Walzer's proposal is not a good one. In contradiction to Walzer. More argument is needed. I would argue. . Peter Schuck and Rogers Smith.van Gunsteren Admissionto Citizenship 737 These three requirements of (a) dialogue and judgment. with Hannah Arendt. the objection implicitly assumes that criteria for expulsion from citizenship are the same as those for admission. is entirely constrained: every new immigrant. is that they violate equality because they demand more from newcomers than is expected from quite a number of native citizens. every refugee taken in. Isn't it wiser to allow for a transition period during which applicant and receiving polity can learn more about each other by trial and error. and in most theories as well. Walzer wants internal policy choice. 62. these criteria differ. In practice.

partly judgmental and discretionary. are monstrosities. ." Political Theory 12 (February 1984): 91. See. and to prevent them from acquiring an oikosin the country where they presently work as 'guests. Michael Sandel. ADMITTING APPLICANTS THAT DO NOT FULFILL ALL THE REQUIREMENTS What is to be done with applicants for citizenship who do not fulfill all the requirements for admission. in their view. But doesn't he forget that "the liberal vision is parasitic on a notion of community it officially rejects?"9 What about the well-known ascriptive criteria for granting citizenship. A similar argument can be made about stateless persons regarding expulsion from or nonadmission to the territory. should receive at least special treatment and be kept in special and guarded places.738 Ethics July 1988 Citizenship. 9. to which I now turn. part stranger. but who are-de facto or de jurestateless persons? I find arguments for admitting them compelling. mutual intelligibility is the only requirement for admission. Many regulations and practices are designed to keep them out. In Ackerman's liberal theory. for Austria. should be entirely based on mutual consent. such second-class citizens. Second-class citizenship is not only a danger for stateless persons and refugees who have been admitted onto the territory but also for guest workers. Others agree. if we were to administer such a penalty. that is. as we know. In my view the naturalization decision is partly constrained.'10 From the point of view of citizenship. pp. or having lived on the territory for a considerable time? In principle these criteria constitute no more than prima facie evidence that one or more of the three requirements developed above have been met. if we cannot do this. who we are and what we hold human beings to be. If you keep them on the territory. Monsters. such hybrids that are part citizen." Osterreichische Zeitschriftfiir Politikwissenschaft (1986). 403-23. but present different requirements (constraints) than the ones developed above. should be eliminated or. But those ascriptive criteria play a more important role in exceptional cases. "Auslanderarmut. such as having been born on the territory or from a citizen-parent. for instance. It would violate equality between members of the community by allowing second-class citizenship for some members to be a permanent or terminal station in their lives. Compare reasons for excluding the death penalty: 'we' would deny our identity. because a prolonged existence as resident aliens in a society of citizens is unacceptable from the point of view of citizenship developed above. Rainer Baubock. to make their stay temporary only. you will eventually have to grant them citizenship. They forget that one needs standing (status) in order to give or refuse any consent whatsoever and that consent is constrained by identity on both sides. "The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self. He would reject requirement b. 10.

The ingredients of this policy are quick decision making. in order to prove that they are not obliged to identify themselves. Quick decision making on matters of such importance is callousness when information is scarce and unreliable. Recent policies toward guest workers in Holland try to present them with a reasonable and clear-cut opportunity for choice between integration and re-migration. Dutch citizens 11. Schuck and Smith. when language and cultural barriers are considerable. International coordination is needed to avoid overflooding of some countries that are thought to be overly generous (they should be brought in line). to achieve a reasonable distribution of refugees over West European countries. as in East Berlin or Amsterdam). . hang together. and international coordination. On her return from a visit to her Italian colleague. What is the difference between economic and political refugees? Politics and economics. Thus.van Gunsteren Admissionto Citizenship 739 Thus it is understandable that people committed to equal citizenship on the territory have developed arguments and policies designed to keep this in-between category of half-citizens as small as possible. Such violation of the rules of due process is a heavy price to pay for international coordination. Quick decision making is thought necessary in order to avoid de facto settlement and acquisition of an oikos on the territory. Such a policy meets with considerable difficulties. Conferences between government ministers and civil servants are not public. as we know. Impression management about the 'openness' of various Western European countries or about a fragile unitary Western European admissions policy is a difficult affair. no economic refugees. Foreigners are obliged to identify themselves. Dutch citizens are not obliged to carry or show an identity card (resistance to such an obligation dates from the Second World War). Efforts to keep the category of half-citizens thinly populated have odd consequences. 11 An increasing emphasis on strict policies of admission to and expulsion from the territory is currently prominent in most West European countries. the Dutch undersecretary ofjustice. Schuck and Smith argue for a more inclusive and generous naturalization policy and a stricter policy of admission to and expulsion from the territory. particularly if one wants to impress persons in faraway countries who are involved in a domestic struggle for life. Only select results are publicly announced. and to repair 'leaks' in the system (for instance. The only sure proof of being a political refugee seems to be that one should have died but was saved by an inexplicable miracle. arriving at the Amsterdam airport. International coordination is a shadowy affair. recently announced an important policy change: to refuse entry and a regular asylum procedure to refugees who could have asked for asylum in another country. Economic refugees should not take the places that were intended for 'real' political refugees. and when there is no reasonable period during which the partners involved can try each other out.

740 Ethics July 1988 are obliged to identify themselves as Dutch citizens. in practice. Allowing citizenship to be a buyable commodity runs counter to the very idea of citizenship. it seems wiser to accept it as a transitory status that is regulated by rules of law and as a tryout period after which naturalization is not an automatic result. To settle this by price information is not an acceptable practice. I conclude that the conception of citizenship developed above cannot adequately deal with the realities of second-class citizenship. It is not difficult to imagine that there are such limits. Instead of trying to do away with it altogether. the strict policy of admission to the territory in no way solves the problem of illegal aliens and their children who live and are sometimes born on the territory. about eligible applicants that cannot all be admitted? What guidance can the conception of citizenship give here? Can it help set priorities? If a republic is conceived as a program for reproducingg citizens. It invites decision-making schemes for admission that are impractical and unjust in their outcomes. both physical and cultural. But what are we to do about numbers. I hesitate to write this unpalatable formula down. EXCLUSION OF APPLICANTS WHO FULFILL THE REQUIREMENTS The problem here is one of numbers. a . If we make the territorial admission decision final. Citizenship is not for sale and is precisely intended to prevent people from having to sell themselves or their votes. but do so because it seems less bad than alternatives like a lottery or bribery. Second-class citizenship cannot be entirely avoided. except perhaps in Switzerland and on the black market for migration. admission becomes in fact a lottery. this could make demands on welfare state provisions for citizens too heavy (the total pie is too small to give each the piece that he has a right to as a citizen) or threaten cultural cohesion and historical identity. would count in an applicant's favor. Admitting all those applicants who fulfill the requirements would endanger the continued reproduction of citizenship for those who are already in. one can compare costs and benefits of admitting one or another applicant in this program. and supply outstrips demand. Their numbers are probably increased as a result of a stricter territorial admissions policy. Thus. and their claims for naturalization lose none of their force because of it. but it is very difficult to know where they are exactly or even roughly located. Finally. The same holds for having an oikos. It is an articulation of social and economic relations. citizenship in a number of countries is a scarce resource. For instance. Many people fear that one does not even know when one is entering dangerous territory near these borders and that one can know where they are located only after one has unknowingly broken through them and no return is possible. Thus. proximity to local citizenship. Better two cheap new citizens than one expensive one.

What about the 'need' of the applicant as a criterion? From the point of view of citizenship this has no relevance except in an indirect way.van Gunsteren Admissionto Citizenship 741 means of existence. p. e.g. POSTSCRIPT There is another division between classes of citizens that is becoming more prominent and that constitutes in a sense a real development of world citizenship. CONCLUSION A local conception of citizenship as developed above provides guidance for deciding about the global distribution of local citizenships among human beings. this conception can give no guidance. It seems rather a useful vehicle for the practical realization of these. but is simply one condition of having access to the 'cosmopolis' of modern communications and modern financial (and technological. it no longer indicates that one belongs to an autonomous power. also in this issue in translation. multicultural. and migrant. Or more precisely. of course. . Setting priorities in terms of proximity to local citizenship thus in fact means changing admission requirements altogether and giving priority to the well-bred and wealthy applicants. spend their vacations in Morocco or the Seychelles. One can argue that the local conception of citizenship is an embodiment of human rights aspirations and that therefore those whose need consists in adequate human rights protection should be let in first. We witness the emergence of an international businessclass citizenship that is multilingual. I must also conclude that local citizenship as outlined here may be useful. But this is unacceptable. Early examples of its members are Nazi rocket and nuclear scientists and other 'indispensable' people. It allows for and incorporates aspirations for human rights for all and developments toward international cooperation. "Propositions sur la citoyennet6" (mimeograph). work on the airplane or with international data banks. 8. It cannot adequately deal with the realities of second-class citizenship and great numbers of eligible applicants. On the other hand.) transfers. Except for the United States. The local conception and institutions of liberal democratic citizenship do not sharply conflict with universal convictions and insights about justice. 12. but it is certainly not enough. it is practicallyavailable and not evidently useless or unjust in its outcomes. I conclude that in the question of numbers. The national passport has changed its meaning. except in a negative way by excluding certain priorities. Etienne Balibar. Directing elites of modern societies "study at Harvard. priorities that the very conception of modern citizenship in the welfare state was intended to do away with."12 This new reality requires new struggles to realize equality between citizens but in no way diminishes the importance of problems of admission to traditional local citizenship that are the subject of this paper.

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