Citizenship and Membership: Placing Refugees in India

  • Nasreen Chowdhory


Citizenship as a concept has transcended to include from individual to group rights, which has been articulated as claims. Similarly, membership, has expanded to include various dimensions such as culture, legal and group, that stretched the ‘limits of democratic practices’ (Offe C, J Polit Philos 6(2):113–141, 1998) and institutions (Turner 2001). But, the issue of alienage has remained unresolved especially in the context to the idea of universal citizenship. It questions, the manner in which such boundaries are constructed on the basis of presumed ‘bounded citizenship’. The issue of alienage challenges citizenship on two levels: one, boundary or threshold citizenship and, two, internal question related to the universal idea of citizenship. Interestingly, the concept of citizenship has been stretched to accommodate some of the basic developments yet, it has remained individual focused, and the rights of aliens and migrants have remained in the periphery. Sassen S (Br J Sociol 51(1):143–159, 2000) and Soysal Y N (Limits of Citizenship: Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1994) discuss the issue of postnational citizenship from different perspectives. Sassen argues that postnational citizenship is more broad-based than the concept of denationalised citizenship, as state remains the point of interest, and citizenry rights evolve outside the state, while in denationalised citizenship rights remain within the domains of the state. The task of the chapter is twofold: first, to argue that camp for refugees is no longer exceptional, rather, it is an active political space for refugees to engage with ideas of belonging, and second, it is a place to assert claims of citizenship. Drawing from citizenship discourse, the paper assert that the right-based analysis has attempted to engage with noncitizens, and India is no exception to the rule.


Citizenship Membership Refugees Rights Camp India 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nasreen Chowdhory
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of DelhiDelhiIndia

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