Merizenship. Theorizing an Informal Citizenship Based on Meritoriousness and Merit.

01 October 2021 → 30 September 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Comparative law
    • European law
    • Human rights law
    • Legal theory, jurisprudence and legal interpretation
    • Law not elsewhere classified
Inequality Merit Citizenship
Project description

Does perceived meritoriousness influence access to key rights? Do its effects transcend citizenship? What are the legal mechanisms at play connecting presumed meritoriousness and access to rights, migratory statuses and citizenship? Do such mechanisms reflect public opinion regarding merit and “belonging to the society”? My goal is to approach these questions with the aid of the concept 'merizenship', zooming in on immigration, citizenship and housing law as well as the role of merit in public opinion. I hypothesize that merizenship transcends individual legal systems creating a global privileged class: merizens. Merizenship is an informal global citizenship benefiting non-citizens and citizens alike as long as these are seen as bringing economic added value to their society and/ or conforming to other valued social norms regarding language, culture, ‘values’ and other criteria. Merizenship benefits the “deserving” and has far-reaching implications in terms of access to rights, migratory statuses and citizenship. States approach to merizens is libertarian, marked by laissez-faire attitudes. Non-merizens, in contrast, are subjected to interventionist policies marking a utilitarian approach. In addition to a legal-doctrinal and normative-theoretical analysis, I deploy empirical qualitative analysis to investigate the public opinion about link between meritoriousness and “belonging to society”, beyond the official status of citizenship.