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Paper CitizensHow Illegal Immigrants Acquire Citizenship in Developing Countries$
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Kamal Sadiq

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195371222

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195371222.001.0001

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Blurred Membership

Blurred Membership

(p.71) 3 Blurred Membership
Paper Citizens

Kamal Sadiq

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the weakly institutionalized nature of citizenship in developing countries. It specifically describes how citizenship in developing countries differs markedly from citizenship in developed countries and thus allows more invisible absorption of illegal immigrants. “Blurred membership” attempts to distinguish between a “citizen” and a “foreigner”, which is common in many developing countries, like Malaysia, Pakistan, and India. Establishing the shape and character of blurred membership in these countries will expose how illegal immigrants take advantage of the phenomenon of blurred membership in facilitating their lives. The subjects of blurred membership are undocumented natives, that is, long-term residents without citizenship papers. The citizenship-related infrastructures in Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, the three largest senders of illegal immigrants to Malaysia, India, and Pakistan, respectively, are considered to show how these migrants integrate with the populations of the recipient countries, thereby intensifying blurred membership. The existence of blurred membership maybe highlights some of the ways in which the Western, governmental, Westphalian, top-down model of citizenship does not fit the developing world.

Keywords:   blurred membership, citizenship, illegal immigrants, Malaysia, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan

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