Thinking of travelling? - don't forget your passport!
Did you know that there are more than 10 million people in the world with no citizenship at all?
And this is only UNHCR's conservative estimate. But irrespective of the numbers, the fact that there are people with no citizenship at all - and that this gives rise to significant exclusions from rights - raises all sorts of questions for the global system. Today, citizenship is often needed in order to realise ‘human rights’. Indeed which citizenship one holds can have a significant effect on one’s life chances.
In 2017, Tendayi Bloom, Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at The Open University, along with Katherine Tonkiss from Aston University and Phillip Cole from The University of the West of England, brought together twenty-four scholars, practitioners and artists to produce a new book, Understanding Statelessness (Routledge 2017). This book interrogates accepted wisdom on statelessness, suggesting a new direction for thinking about this topic. In particular, it makes two conflicting suggestions. First, that 'statelessness' needs to be put on the agenda across academic disciplines, and across policy areas. Second, that the problems associated with statelessness may well not be about the lack of citizenship itself, but about the lack of rights to which this currently gives rise.
The book is available from Routledge. Readers can receive a discount by using the code FLR40.
The book inspired a blog series in Discover Society, where you can find shorter essays written by some of the book's contributors, setting out their thinking about statelessness: