Social Status and Gendered Pathways to Citizenship

citizenship papers

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Speaker: Sara Kazemian, PhD candidate, UC Davis, Department of Sociology 

Sara Kazemian is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science studying inequality, affective polarization and migration. Her research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to assess how inequality shapes political behavior.  Her current project with Professor Jeannette Money examines how gender inequality and social status influence migrant naturalization decisions. Her work as appeared in Social Science Quarterly and Oxford University Press.


Citizenship can be a valuable commodity to immigrants. It welcomes newcomers to the host polity through political participation, extends the full array of rights provided by the state and protects the immigrant from deportation.  Much of the research explores the determinants of nationality legislation – why countries make access to citizenship for foreigners more or less difficult (see Vink 2017 for a recent overview of this research).  Yet not all immigrants choose to change their allegiance or, with the availability of dual citizenship, to adopt a second allegiance.  Therefore, a second dimension of citizenship research is on the immigrant’s choice to naturalize, as the decision is entirely voluntary.  In this article, we ask whether and how gender affects the immigrant’s naturalization decision.  Using a multi-level model, we find that gender inequality in the country-of-origin influences naturalization decisions under certain levels of development. Our paper improves on previous research by disaggregating gender inequality to better understand which forms of gender inequality shape naturalization decisions.

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