What do you want to achieve with this project?

We aim for an open and multifaceted, intelligent and intelligible debate about what citizenship means and could mean in our times of globalisation and territorialism.

Do you need help to put your idea into practice?

Deadline: 10 May 2017

Submission to:


  • Files editable in a common text editor (*.doc, *.odt, …)
  • no table of contents, no footnotes, no bibliography
  • evidence (quotes, numbers, facts) via hyperlinks Length: up to 2500 words
  • Language English – if you want to contribute in another language, please let us know beforehand
What are the details of the project?

We live in the age of globalisation – but also in an age of walls. While international migration is at an all-time high, we observe a new trend of enforcing political borders to block people from leaving their country and seeking their fortunes elsewhere in the world. Walls – increasingly visible and solid – are only the most obvious manifestation of this development. This contradiction leads us to fundamental questions concerning the relationship between the geographical and the political order of our world: How, why, and to what extent is citizenship of modern states connected to and defined by territorial boundaries? And is this a necessary conjunction?

Public debates often assume a natural relationship between citizenship and territoriality, but both reality and theory are much murkier: While some states grant citizenship by birth on a territory (ius solis), others build on the idea of a consistent bloodline to construe their demos (ius sanguinis). While the taxation systems of most modern states rely on their territories, intensified migration leads to an increase in taxation without representation – many people are taxed within a territory in which they are not allowed to vote. While naturalisation in many states requires longstanding residence on the state’s territory, alternative models are not only imaginable, but have already been practically enacted: Estonia is pioneering a model of virtual online citizenship; other states are granting citizenship status to non-residents on the basis of alleged ethnic ties. Meanwhile, the status of supranational entities such as the European Union in relation to citizenship is under debate.

All of this leads to a multitude of questions: Does citizenship necessarily depend on (territorial?) states? Which alternatives can be imagined, and how could they be implemented? Which elements of citizenship do not require a territory, which ones do (if any)? How does territoriality affect citizenship – whether in physical, cultural or yet in other terms? These questions touch on issues relevant in academic disciplines ranging from history, sociology, and political science to geography, law, philosophy, anthropology etc.