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Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) ​ Seminar of the Belgian-Asian Couples: "Mixedness and State Policies"

Date and time: May 27th, 11:00-12:00 GMT / 18:00-19:00 JST ​ Speakers: Eline Delmarcelle (Institute of Asian Migrations, Waseda University): "Becoming a national in Japan and Belgium: citizenship acquisition, ethnicity and identity negotiations" ​ Chair: Lucas Monteil (LAMC/EASt, Université Libre de Bruxelles)


In a world of increasing mobility, residents acquiring citizenship of their country of residence are mostly discussed as macro-level statistics or targets of integration policies. But how do those immigrants progressively become citizens, legally and socially? In this research based on in-depth interviews with 35 naturalized Belgians and Japanese, I explore what are foreign residents’ motivations to become Belgian or Japanese, how they interpret their naturalization process, and how they negotiate their place in their new nation. It appears that the informants’ ethnicity, the different local conceptions of nationality – based on jus sanguinis in Japan and jus domicilii in Belgium – and their treatment by the administration during the naturalization procedure all influence the way new Belgian and Japanese citizens identify with their newfound nation, and whether they feel they belong in it or not.

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