Date of Award

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Aneesh Aneesh

Committee Members

Gordon Gauchat, Ivan Ascher, Oriol Mirosa


Citizenship, Global & Transnational Sociology, Human Rights, Immigration, Middle East, World Society Theory


Modern conceptions of citizenship are in a state of flux, and, as such, so are our ideas about belonging. Ascriptive norms of membership based on the location of one’s birth—jus soli—or familial lineage—jus sanguinis—have provided the groundwork for membership where being designated a “citizen” can provide significant legal, economic, and social advantages over those outside the status. Naturalization, dual citizenships, and citizenship-by-investment programs (CIPs) have made citizenship more inclusive, less tied to a specific group, and more responsive to the needs of the individual. Further, instead of a citizen’s rights stopping at the border of the nation-state, liberal citizenship norms constructed around the cornerstone of universal human rights are gaining momentum. This research examines the spread of these liberal citizenship norms and their relations to political regime, inequality, and territory. A qualitative content analysis of citizenship laws from 198 countries was performed. The results suggest that while liberal citizenship norms have gained momentum in recent history, the adoption is not universal, with non-authoritarian regimes tending to utilize these norms at higher rates than their authoritarian counterparts. Further, there is on-going caution surrounding dual citizenship and CIPs. To examine these concerns, this study outlines the spread of dual citizenship regimes and creates a log of extant CIPs. Finally, a case study of liberal norm non-adoption is outlined using the citizenship laws of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The results from this example highlight the complex set of variables affecting transnational norm adoption, where a region’s history, economic relationships, culture, and attitudes toward immigrant groups all play a role in the decision-making process.