Statelessness as a Product of Slippery Statecraft

A Global Governance View of Current Causes, Actors, and Debates

  • Allison Petrozziello
Keywords: statelessness, global governance, labour migration, neoliberalism, globalisation, citizenship, UNHCR, Sustainable Development Agenda, Global Compact on Migration, Global Compact on Refugees


Statelessness has been described as the result of unintentional gaps between citizenship policies excluding individuals who move, form relationships and reproduce across international borders. But what if the rise in statelessness is not a technicality, but a strategy of slippery statecraft meant to design the citizenry a given state is willing to protect? This paper places statelessness within the context of neoliberal globalisation and international migration and provides a critical global governance view of contemporary causes of statelessness, key actors working on it and their framing of the issue within global governance frameworks. I argue that the dominant framing of statelessness as a technical issue obviates the politics behind statelessness as slippery statecraft, leading proposed solutions to fall short. Critical research may help advocates make the case for inclusion, appealing to broader state interests and networks, without abandoning attendant human rights obligations.

How to Cite
Petrozziello, A. (2019). Statelessness as a Product of Slippery Statecraft. The Statelessness & Citizenship Review, 1(1), 136–155. Retrieved from