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Using National History to Construct the Boundaries of Citizenship: An Analysis of Greek Citizens’ Discourse About Immigrants’ Rights

Kadianaki, Irini; Andreouli, Eleni and Carretero, Mario (2017). Using National History to Construct the Boundaries of Citizenship: An Analysis of Greek Citizens’ Discourse About Immigrants’ Rights. Qualitative Psychology (In Press).

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In this paper we advance a qualitative approach to study the interconnection between representations of history and representations of citizenship. We argue that representations of the national past are important resources on which different constructions of citizenship are based. Our empirical context is the heated debate that emerged as a result of the announcement of new citizenship legislation in Greece. We used the online comments posted in the forum of the Ministry of Internal affairs following the announcement of the legislation to study how national history was represented by Greek citizens and how these representations functioned to form different arguments regarding migrants' citizenship rights. Our analysis identified four themes in representations of national history: continuity of the nation, idealization of the past, moral obligation towards the past, and homogeneity or heterogeneity of the nation. We show that these ideas largely sustain an exclusive, essentialist, ethnic conception of the nation as a distinct, homogenous and continuous entity of people sharing a common genetic heritage. More inclusive arguments were based on seemingly pluralistic ideas that implicitly entailed banal nationalist assumptions or assimilatory ideas towards migrant inclusion. We conclude that commentators' historical representations inhibit critical understanding of the past and consequently of a more open and plural understanding of the future. Future research should focus on examining how formal and informal education may promote such representations and on the political implications of these for intergroup relations in multicultural contexts.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 2326-3598
Keywords: history; representations; nation; citizenship; migrants
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 48414
Depositing User: Eleni Andreouli
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2017 14:11
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2017 14:11
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