Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey: Development (Dual) Citizenship and Its Discontents in Africa
- 5:30 pm
05 May 2021
Online | Free
Does dual citizenship reproduce inequalities?
Robtel Neajai Pailey grapples with this question and more in her engaging monograph Development, (Dual) Citizenship and Its Discontents in Africa: The Political Economy of belonging to Liberia (Cambridge University Press, 2021).
Drawing on rich life histories from over two hundred in-depth interviews in West Africa, Europe, and North America, she examines socio-economic change in Liberia, Africa’s first Black republic, through the prism of citizenship.
Marking how historical policy changes on citizenship and contemporary public discourse on dual citizenship have impacted development policy and practice, Pailey reveals that as Liberia transformed from a country of immigration to one of emigration, so too did the nature of citizenship, thus influencing claims for and against dual citizenship.
Her book develops a new model for conceptualising citizenship within the context of crisis-affected states while offering a compelling critique of the neoliberal framing of diasporas and donors as the panacea to post-war reconstruction.
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Robtel Neajai Pailey is Assistant Professor in International Social and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. A Liberian scholar-activist working at the intersection of Critical Development Studies, Critical African Studies and Critical Race Studies, she centres her research on how structural transformation is conceived and contested by local, national and transnational actors from ‘crisis’-affected regions of the so-called Global South. Robtel’s current project, Africa’s ‘Negro’ Republics, examines how slavery, colonialism and neoliberalism in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, respectively, have shaped the adoption and maintenance of constitutional clauses barring non-blacks from obtaining citizenship in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
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