This comprehensive Handbook gives an overview of the political, social, economic and legal dimensions of citizenship in the Middle East and North Africa from the nineteenth century to the present.

The terms citizen and citizenship are mostly used by researchers in an off-hand, self-evident manner. A citizen is assumed to have standard rights and duties that everyone enjoys. However, citizenship is a complex legal, social, economic, cultural, ethical and religious concept and practice. Since the rise of the modern bureaucratic state, in each country of the Middle East and North Africa, citizenship has developed differently. In addition, rights are highly differentiated within one country, ranging from privileged, underprivileged and discriminated citizens to non-citizens. Through its dual nature as instrument of state control, as well as a source of citizen rights and entitlements, citizenship provides crucial insights into state-citizen relations and the services the state provides, as well as the way citizens respond to these actions.

This volume focuses on five themes that cover the crucial dimensions of citizenship in the region:

  • Historical trajectory of citizenship since the nineteenth century until independence
  • Creation of citizenship from above by the state
  • Different discourses of rights and forms of contestation developed by social movements and society
  • Mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion
  • Politics of citizenship, nationality and migration

Covering the main dimensions of citizenship, this multidisciplinary book is a key resource for students and scholars interested in citizenship, politics, economics, history, migration and refugees in the Middle East and North Africa.

chapter |16 pages


part 1|83 pages

Emergence of modern citizenship

part 2|84 pages

Formation of citizenship from above

chapter 7|13 pages

Between claims, residence and recognition

The conceptual unity of jinsīyya and muwātana

chapter 8|14 pages

Muwatana, exclusion and the politics of belonging in modernizing monarchies

The cases of Kuwait and Morocco/Western Sahara

chapter 9|14 pages

Constitutions and citizenship

Rights in law and practice in Jordan and the Arab World

part 4|119 pages

Mechanism of inclusion and exclusion

chapter 21|15 pages

Supremacy unleashed

The ongoing erosion of Palestinian citizenship in Israel

chapter 23|13 pages

Why his photograph was not taken

Reconsidering membership in Lebanon

chapter 25|14 pages

The Christians of the Middle East

From Arab Christians to marginalized minorities

chapter 26|14 pages

Citizenship and political participation in post-Qaddafi Libya

The long and winding road to a new social contract

part 5|92 pages

Migration and regulation of citizenship and nationality

chapter 31|13 pages

Subjecthood and citizenship in the diaspora

Libyan and Syrian voice before and during the Arab Spring

chapter 32|16 pages

Tunisian migration to the EU

A tale of asymmetry