Securitization of migration in Germany: the ambivalences of citizenship and human rights

Ayelet Banai, Regina Kreide

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we examine elements of contemporary securitization discourse about immigration and citizenship in Germany, looking both at the German-domestic and European contexts. We seek to identify mechanisms of exclusion from citizenship rights and from human rights that securitization discourses serve to establish. The current disaster faced by refugees and forced-migrants in the aftermath of the Arab Spring is a dreadful illustration of persistent ambivalences: The Federal Republic, in the post-Nazi era and the European Union from its very inception, proclaim allegiance to human and citizens’ rights, which serve, in ones and the same time to promulgate the promise of inclusion and equality, and as instruments of securitization and exclusion. This ambivalent role of citizenship rights and human rights is illustrated in the article by the following cases: Germany’s reform of citizenship law and subsequent rules of social exclusion pertaining primarily to Muslim citizens; the ‘normalization’ of Roma minorities in Germany and other EU member-states. We conclude that the persistence of this ambivalence is remarkable and it ought to be reckoned with, if the emancipatory potential–impaired as it may be–of citizenship and human rights is to be safeguarded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-917
Number of pages15
JournalCitizenship Studies
Issue number8
StatePublished - 17 Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Germany
  • Roma minorities
  • Securitization
  • border policies
  • citizenship rights
  • human rights
  • migration regimes
  • social exclusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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