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The Changing Inequalities of Citizenship | LSE Festival

Hosted by LSE Festival: People and Change

In-person and online public event (MAR 2.04, Marshall Building)


Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey

Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey

Dr Kristin Surak

Dr Kristin Surak

Dr Eleanor Knott

Dr Eleanor Knott


Dr Armine Ishkanian

Dr Armine Ishkanian

Citizenship is often seen as a great equaliser. Yet access to citizenship itself is not equally distributed, nor are the rights gained from citizenship equal for all.  

In this session three scholars from across the social sciences explore the varying, complex, and global nature of inequalities produced in and through citizenship in the 21st century. Drawing on their newly released books, our panel discuss new transformations in citizenship and (in)equality, ranging from contestations around dual citizenship for Liberia, to the sale of citizenship by microstates to millionaires, to the extra-territorial acquisition of citizenship in Crimea and Moldova.  

Meet our speakers and chair

Robtel Neajai Pailey (@RobtelNeajai) is Assistant Professor in International Social and Public Policy in the Department of Social Policy, LSE. A Liberian scholar-activist working at the intersection of Critical African Studies, Critical Development Studies and Critical Race Studies, she centres her research on how structural transformation is conceived and contested by local, national and transnational actors from ‘crisis’-affected regions of the so-called Global South. Her first monograph, Development, (Dual) Citizenship and Its Discontents in Africa: The Political Economy of Belonging to Liberia (Cambridge University Press, 2021), won the 2022 African Politics Conference Group Best Book Award and contributed to the passage of Liberia’s dual citizenship law.  

Kristin Surak is Associate Professor of Political Sociology in the Department of Sociology, LSE. Her research on golden passports, international migration, nationalism and politics has been translated into a half-dozen languages. In addition to publishing in major academic and intellectual journals, she also writes regularly for popular outlets, including the London Review of Books, The Washington Post, The Guardian, New Statesman and The New Left Review. She has been a Richard B Fischer Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Fung Global Fellow at Princeton University and a Fellow of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. Her latest book, Citizenship for Sale: How the Wealthy Buy Global Mobility, will be published by Harvard University Press in September 2023.   

Eleanor Knott (@ellie_knott) is a political scientist and Assistant Professor in Qualitative Methodology in the Department of Methodology, LSE. Her current research interests include the politics of identity and citizenship (predominantly in post-Soviet space) and qualitative research methods, primarily ethics of research. She has published in Perspectives on Politics, Qualitative Research, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Citizenship Studies and Democratization, among others. Her first book—Kin Majorities: Identity and Citizenship in Crimea and Moldova—was published by McGill University Press in 2022. 

Armine Ishkanian (@Armish15) is Associate Professor in the Department of Social Policy and the Executive Director of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme at the International Inequalities Institute. Her research examines the relationship between civil society, democracy, development, and social transformation.  She has examined how civil society organisations and social movements engage in policy processes and transformative politics in a number of countries including Armenia, Egypt, Greece, Russia, Turkey, and the UK. 

More about this event

This event is part of the LSE Festival: People and Change running from Monday 12 to Saturday 17 June 2023, with a series of events exploring how change affects people and how people effect change. Booking for all Festival events will open on Monday 15 May. 

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