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Citizenship in the Arab World

Citizenship in the Arab World: Kin, Religion and Nation-State

Gianluca P. Parolin
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Citizenship in the Arab World
    Book Description:

    The book is the fruit of five years of on-site research on citizenship in the Arab world. It takes a broader legal perspective to the multifaceted reality of nationality and citizenship. The methodology employed builds on the interdisciplinary approach of comparative legal studies, and brings in theories, concepts and insights from anthropology, political science, Arab and Islamic studies, linguistics and sociology. The work relies on a broad range of Western and Arab references, and all sources and documents were directly accessed in their original languages; this is particularly relevant for Arab legislation (all in-text reference has been translated by the author, and the original has been inserted using scientific transliteration). This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0629-3
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Preface
    (pp. 9-12)
    Rainer Bauböck
  4. Foreword
    (pp. 13-14)
    Gerard-René de Groot

    It is a pleasure to welcome the publication of the bookCitizenship in the Arab World.

    The complicated relationship between the concepts of ‘nationality’ and ‘citizenship’ has been the subject of many publications in the recent past. Their precise relationship depends very much on the languages and legal systems in which these concepts are operating. In several languages, the term etymologically related to ‘nationality’ has an ethnic dimension and indicates that a certain person belongs to a nation in an ethnic sense. On the other hand, the term related to ‘citizenship’ indicatesinter aliathe formal link between a person...

  5. Acknowledgements and Romanisation system
    (pp. 15-16)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 17-28)

    Citizenship is one of the key concepts underpinning both the vision and the philosophical basis of modern Western political thought. A broad range of disciplines employ it in a variety of contexts and with quite different connotations. As a result, the suggestive and multifaceted notion of citizenship proves hard to unravel, and even harder to define.

    Identifying the main constituents of the concept, however, is a crucial preliminary step for comparative analysis – especially when comparing systems with fairly different approaches and largely distinct appraisals of such a concept. The purpose of capturing the salient features of citizenship is precisely...

  7. 1 Membership in the kin group
    (pp. 29-40)

    The first form of membership known by man is membership in the family. This fairly obvious consideration, framed in Aristotle’s theory, has long informed Western political theory and its stance on citizenship in particular.¹ In the Arab world the family (in its broader sense of kin group) plays an even greater role and proves to be fairly resilient to external pressures. In order to identify the genuine features of the Arab kin, we need to look through its pre-Islamic patterns, when competing forms of membership were quite trivial.

    A telling starting point is how classical Islamic authors represent the Arab...

  8. 2 Membership in the religious community
    (pp. 41-70)

    The social and political milieu of pre-Islamic Arabia considerably affected the spread of monotheistic religions, which assumed the social order as a vehicle for their diffusion, but soon endeavoured to replace the traditional forms of membership with the sole bond of common faith.

    Before the rise of Islam, Judaism was professed by Jews of the diaspora and by Arab converts, and its main centres were located in the coastal region of Hejaz and in Yemen. These communities are thought to have been established after the destruction of Jerusalem in the 2nd century AD, but these are still clouded chapters of...

  9. 3 Membership in the nation-state
    (pp. 71-114)

    Centuries after the formation of the Islamic community (al-ummah al-islāmīyah), a new form of membership (nationality orjinsīyah) in a new form of political organisation (the nation-state oral-dawlah al-watanīyah) took shape in the Arab world. The concepts of nation-states and nationality ties initially penetrated the vast Arab territories under Ottoman suzerainty during the decline of the Empire, and started taking root in the second half of the 19th century. The Sublime Porte felt urgent need of a secular membership bond to do away with capitulatory privileges and consolidate its control over the non-Turkish provinces. It is thus from this...

  10. 4 Citizenship and the three levels of membership
    (pp. 115-130)

    After a general outline of the three main levels of membership in the Arab world, this closing chapter is devoted to the interplay of these levels in the determination of the sphere of individual rights. Every level has a different take on the individual, the rights and duties that should be attached to him – or her – and the extent of the exercise of the former or compliance to the latter.

    Citizenship (muwātanah) in the Arab world is essentially defined by the individual’s membership in a kin group, in a religious community and in a nation-state. Arab intellectuals and...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 131-142)
  12. Glossary of Arabic legal terms
    (pp. 143-152)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 153-180)
  14. General index
    (pp. 181-187)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 188-190)