Bloodlines and belonging: Time to abandon ius sanguinis? - Introduction

C. Dumbrava

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterProfessional


The transmission of citizenship status from parents to children is a widespread modern practice that offers certain practical and normative advantages. It is relatively easy to distribute legal status to children according to parents’ citizenship, especially in the context of high mobility where the links between persons and their birthplace are becoming increasingly strained. Granting citizenship status to children of citizens may also be desirable as a way of avoiding statelessness, acknowledging special family links and fostering political links between children and the political community of their parents. These apparent advantages of ius sanguinis citizenship are, however, outweighed by a series of problems. In what follows I argue that ius sanguinis citizenship is (1) historically tainted, (2) increasingly inadequate and (3) normatively unnecessary. Ius sanguinis citizenship is historically tainted because it is rooted in practices and conceptions that rely on ethno-nationalist ideas about political membership. It is inadequate because it becomes increasingly unfit to deal with contemporary issues such as advances in assisted reproduction technologies and changes in family practices and norms. Lastly, ius sanguinis citizenship is normatively unnecessary because its alleged advantages are illusory and can be delivered by other means.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBloodlines and belonging: Time to abandon ius sanguinis?
EditorsC Dumbrava, R Bauböck
Place of PublicationFlorence
PublisherEuropean University Institute/ EUDO Observatory on Citizenship
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Publication series

SeriesRSCAS Working papers
NumberRSCAS 2015/80

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