From popular sovereignty to constitutional sovereignty within the EU

Antoni Abat Ninet

Research output: Book chapterChapter


Since the late nineteenth century, citizenship(s) and nationality(ies) have been related in schemes that leave little room for "peoples" in the common sense in these nations in Central and Eastern Europe, which often seem to determine themselves as cultural "minorities". This conception of the nation does not rely on a coupling with citizenship but on the ethnic, linguistic, territorial, historical, religious and global cultural logic. The «foreigner» is then someone from another nation and its possible exclusion is not a consequence of state sovereignty, a phenomenon induced precisely by the national definition of citizenship, but the mechanisms of identity, which in much of Europe, resulted in a relatively widespread assimilation of citizenship to nationality. This was done at request of the state, validated or legitimized by historical reconstruction, often mythical, and to the emergence of new national histories. European integration has not invented, a European nationality (when it comes to recognizing and valuing diversity), but a new kind of citizenship, linked with identity mechanisms, a Citizenship beyond nationalities. The "identitary" isolationism throughout Europe, from local to national, can be clearly linked to the crises of citizenship, as it is manifested by levels of abstention in elections. New exclusions, flawed policies are denounced, while it reveals a wide discredit of the political class. New boundaries, symbolic and meaningful, appear, even within the Schengen area, even within Member States. Yet, people change their modes of participation, public spaces, and digital spaces transforming the social and political life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCitoyennetés, voisinages et minorités en Europe / Citizenships, neighbouroods and minorities in Europe
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


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