Challenging the tyranny of citizenship
: Statelessness in Lebanon

  • Jason Tucker

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


There are seventeen million people in the world who are stateless, not considered as citizens by any state. They suffer due to the current function of citizenship in the nation-state system, occupying a legal space outside of the system, yet, their lives are very much blighted by the system itself. This research examines the possibility that global citizenship could be a means to address statelessness. Global citizenship, unlike (national) citizenship, is, in theory, inclusive, and membership is based on our shared humanity. However, when approaching the global citizenship literature, two concerns became apparent. First, there is a significant lack of theorisation on the stateless in the discourse, and second, some scholars make the assumption that a global citizen has citizenship of a state – which the stateless do not. To begin to overcome these concerns, this research develops and implements a stateless centric perspective on global citizenship, using it to analyse the situation of the stateless in the case of Lebanon. The stateless centric approach developed here, views global citizenship through the actions and perspectives of those addressing statelessness. With four large and protracted stateless populations, Lebanon provides an empirically rich context, within which to undertake this research. The findings of the stateless centric perspective problematise the received wisdom of citizenship, the nation-state and allows for the exploration of the expressions and tensions in the practices of global citizenship. Drawing on a contextualised understanding of these practices, a ‘patchwork’ approach to global citizenship is proposed. This sees the creation of a public political space as an act of global citizenship, when it draws on universal principles. These universal principles are used to justify this space, taking on an instrumental role. It is a patchwork as these spaces can be seen in the wider global context, as either directly or indirectly connected, through their shared use of universal principles. By centralising the stateless in our conceptualisations of the nation-state, citizenship and global citizenship, the value of taking a stateless centric perspective, and its ability to draw out further nuances in the debate, is shown.
Date of Award12 Feb 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorGraham Brown (Supervisor)


  • statelessness
  • lebanon
  • Citizenship
  • nation-state
  • global citizenship

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