‘People without a State Also Must Live’
Kurds’ Experiences of Citizenship in the Middle East and the Netherlands
Through considering the historical and ongoing systematic oppression of Kurds in the Middle East, this paper seeks to interrogate the role of citizenship in relation to processes of inclusion and exclusion within nation states. By situating the concepts of citizenship and statelessness within their appropriate political context, this paper explores the extent to which citizenship regimes can be used to serve the interests of the state and undermine the interests of minority citizens. This is analysed through considering the framework of the modern state system, in which individuals are largely dependent on citizenship for access to rights. The severe implications of non-citizenship increase citizens’ dependency on states, increasing the capability of states to oppress minority citizens who are not considered to belong within the national community. Through navigating participants’ narratives of citizenship and statelessness, a nuanced understanding of the role of citizenship will challenge dominant assumptions.