'Birthplace, bloodline and beyond: how ‘Liberian citizenship’ is currently constructed in Liberia and abroad' with Robtel Neajai Pailey

Past Event

27 April 2016, 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Queen Elizabeth House
Oxford Department of International Development, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB

This seminar is organised by the International Migration Institute, an Oxford Martin School Institute

Speaker: Robtel Neajai Pailey, University of Oxford

Summary: This presentation interrogates whether or not an ‘authentic’ Liberian citizen actually exists based on multi-sited fieldwork conducted between June 2012 and July 2013. Using actor-oriented analysis as the theoretical framework, Robtel will examine the interfaces between 202 Liberian respondents - namely, homeland Liberians in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital; Liberian diasporas in London, Washington, Freetown, and Accra; permanent and circular returnees; executive and legislative members of government, including the four sponsors of Liberia’s 2008 proposed dual citizenship bill - showing that their conceptualisations of 'Liberian citizenship' differ according to their lived experiences and social locations, and ultimately influence participation, or lack thereof, in post-war recovery. He will argue that contemporary constructions of ‘Liberian citizenship’ transcend the legal definition enshrined in the country’s 1973 Aliens and Nationality Law - moving from passive, identity-based citizenship to more active, practice-based citizenship.