The Centrality of Citizenship
Edited by Nils A. Butenschøn and Roel Meijer
Chapter 5: Enduring ‘contested’ citizenship in the Gulf Cooperation Council
Serving as a means of determining who belongs to the nation, and equally importantly who does not belong, citizenship is an integral part of modern state-citizen relations. Citizenship in the GCC states, however, has long been viewed as largely devoid of political meaning. Instead, it is often seen through a socio-economic lens that sees state-citizen relations as solely based on resource rents exchanged for citizens’ allegiance, despite the limited political rights accrued to them. This chapter will challenge this perception and argue that negotiations of citizenship arrangement in Gulf nations have always been political and a site of contestation for regimes and residents alike. In support of this argument, the chapter will examine the recent surge in citizenship revocations in the aftermath of the 2011 Uprisings, which served to revitalise and strengthen old arenas of contestation over the politics of belonging to the nation.
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