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Redefining Citizenship

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Chapter Summary

Linking citizenship to a supposed specific ethnic or religious identity, even if that appeared to be "natural" in closed societies of the past, is unjustifiable in a modern society. The fact that traditional international law has little to say about individual persons is understandable, given the principle upon which it is based, namely the sovereignty of individual states. Nationality is a legal bond having as its basis a social fact of attachment, a genuine connection of existence, interests and sentiments, together with the existence of reciprocal rights and duties. 'Nationality' and 'citizenship' denotes, as explained in a specific legal bond between a state and a person, entailing rights and obligations. 'Citizenship' does not have exclusive connotations in relation to a national state; in the case of 'citizenship', what the person is a citizen of in the legal sense always needs to be specified.

Keywords: citizenship; connotations; sovereignty



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