At Home in Two Countries

The Past and Future of Dual Citizenship

208 pages

June, 2016

ISBN: 9780814785829

$40

Cloth

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Author

Peter J. Spiro is Charles R. Weiner Professor of Law at Temple University. His work has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Slate, among many other publications. A former U.S. Supreme Court law clerk and National Security Council staff member, he is also the author of Beyond Citizenship: American Identity after Globalization.

All books by Peter J Spiro

 
The rise of dual citizenship could hardly have been imaginable to a time traveler from a hundred or even fifty years ago. Dual nationality was once considered an offense to nature, an abomination on the order of bigamy. It was the stuff of titanic battles between the United States and European sovereigns. As those conflicts dissipated, dual citizenship continued to be an oddity, a condition that, if not quite freakish, was nonetheless vaguely disreputable, a status one could hold but not advertise. Even today, some Americans mistakenly understand dual citizenship to somehow be “illegal”, when in fact it is completely tolerated. Only recently has the status largely shed the opprobrium to which it was once attached.
 
At Home in Two Countries charts the history of dual citizenship from strong disfavor to general acceptance. The status has touched many; there are few Americans who do not have someone in their past or present who has held the status, if only unknowingly. The history reflects on the course of the state as an institution at the level of the individual. The state was once a jealous institution, justifiably demanding an exclusive relationship with its members. Today, the state lacks both the capacity and the incentive to suppress the status as citizenship becomes more like other forms of membership. Dual citizenship allows many to formalize sentimental attachments. For others, it’s a new way to game the international system. This book explains why dual citizenship was once so reviled, why it is a fact of life after globalization, and why it should be embraced today.

Reviews

  • "A lively and learned exploration of dual nationality and its future. Professor Spiro’s book illuminates the forces that make the spread of dual nationality seem inevitable, and the advantages it provides both to individuals and to states. His telling examples humanize the subject, but he also conveys eloquently how globalization dilutes older ideals of citizenship."

    —Gerald L. Neuman, J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law, Harvard University

  • "Peter Spiro's erudite and crisply written book on dual citizenship will help any reader better understand business and life generally in the global economy. The definitive work on its topic, At Home in Two Countries deserves a broad audience. It will provoke important debate."

    —Paul M. Barrett, Senior Writer, Bloomberg Businessweek

  • "Peter Spiro has been the leading scholar of dual citizenship for more than two decades, and he has prophetically linked its rise to still more far-reaching transformations in the global system of nation-states and nation-state citizenship. This provocative yet engaging work is a major statement that will inform and influence citizenship scholarship and political debates for many years to come."

    —Rogers M. Smith, Christopher H. Brwne Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania