9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN32 Political Sociology

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Citizenship Building I, 2E10

Citizenship and nondiscrimination law in Europe: The limits of equality

This paper addresses the issue of citizenship in both its vertical and horizontal dimensions id est its societal and legal/political dimensions The question of the border of the citizenry and who belongs to the community of citizens is of course at the heart of many debates as individuals such as international migrants live in several polities and add to the diversity of the body politic. As citizens should possess an equal status, issues of equality and fairness dominate. Yet the vertical dimension of citizenship the question of the source of authority that grants and guarantees rights and imposes duties is also important. These sources are changing today with devolution, the development of citizenship rights and non-discrimination law in the European Union. This leads in fact to a fragmentation of statuses as each level of government may dispense a different set of rights that individuals may or may not cumulate. The paper examines three major European developments in comparative perspective: the regime of free movers, EU equality law and the development of citizenship contracts, courses or tests for foreigners at the national level. Each corresponds to a different vision of citizenship and involve a different level of governance. I will focus on their consequences for debates about equality. In fine current EU developments have adopted a rights approach to equality while national governments' citizenship tests involve administrative discretion.