The Shifting Parameters of Nationality

Netherlands International Law Review 65, p. 269-297 (2018)

29 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2019

Date Written: November 30, 2018


This article has two interrelated aims. First, the article goes beyond law and places the discussions on nationality in the broader literature on citizenship, also drawing on social sciences, political theory and moral philosophy. The ensuing conceptual, historical and multi-disciplinary account highlights the long pedigree of the idea of citizenship, the manifold conceptions of citizenship that have developed over time (including supra-national, sub-national and transnational citizenship). The article demonstrates how the changing spatialities of citizenship culminated in a focus on the nation-state, and the emergence of legal citizenship or nationality, reflecting the legal bond between an individual and a state. It was also noted that in several respects the parameters of nationality keep changing. More particularly, four developments have been highlighted that circumscribe the sovereign right of states to determine who are their nationals, both legally and through de facto pressures. Secondly, this contribution provides the overarching framework for the special issue while identifying the salient discussion points regarding nationality and international law that will be teased out in the articles of the special issue. The article ends with a brief overview of the articles that make up the special issue.

Keywords: (Legal and substantive) citizenship, Membership of polity, Nationstate, Shifting spatialities, Legal bond between state and individual, Statelessness, Dual nationality, Rights

Suggested Citation

Henrard, Kristin A. M., The Shifting Parameters of Nationality (November 30, 2018). Netherlands International Law Review 65, p. 269-297 (2018). Available at SSRN: or

Kristin A. M. Henrard (Contact Author)

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 100
Rotterdam, 3000 DR
0031104081806 (Phone)


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