Dimensions of national reproduction


Costica Dumbrava | Published in: Reproducing the nation: reproduction, citizenship and ethno-demographic survival in post-communist Romania. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

Controlling populations has become central to the political rationality of the modern state [1]. Post-war demographic interventionism has been largely disconnected from its earlier eugenicist goal of ‘improving the inborn qualities of a race’ [2] and steered towards the provision of positive, non-coercive welfare incentives [3]. Certain ‘crypto-eugenic’ features persisted, however, particularly in the global crusade to promote family planning as a means to counteract global overpopulation [4]. While remaining diverse and driven by different goals, such as legitimising political power, attesting ideological superiority (communist/capitalist), and promoting social modernisation, post-war population policies were generally conceived of as ‘a driver of economic development and nation-building’ [5]. Continue reading

Ethnic un-mixing in Eastern Europe?


Costica Dumbrava | Published in Introduction: Citizenship in Post-communist Eastern Europe, Central and Eastern European Migration Review

pexels-photo-262488After 1990 most Eastern European countries acted as ‘nationalising states’ (Brubaker 1996), seeking to secure the control of the core ethnic majority over state institutions and over the official definition of the nation. Citizenship policies have been used to ensure the unity of the nation within and across state borders (Pogonyi, Kovács and Körtvélyesi 2010). Whereas the explicit exclusion from citizenship based on ethnic grounds was prohibited by international norms, which most of these countries were forced to accept as a condition for European and transatlantic integration, indirect exclusion based on seemingly legitimate grounds was still possible. For example, Estonia and Latvia effectively denaturalised large proportions of their populations by reinstating their pre-Soviet citizenship laws and thus excluding from citizenship all Soviet-era immigrants and their descendants (Gelazis 2000). Continue reading

Rolling back history: The Romanian policy of restoration of citizenship to former citizens

Romania and EUCostica Dumbrava | Published in: Citizenship in Southeast Europe, University of Edinburgh

After the fall of the communist regime, Romania adopted legal provisions regarding the facilitated re-acquisition of citizenship by former citizens and their descendants. According to the 1991 citizenship law, former citizens who “have had their citizenship withdrawn against their will or for other reasons not imputably to them” could reacquire Romanian citizenship without having to renounce other citizenship(s) or take up residence in the country. These provisions aimed at restoring Romanian citizenship particularly to former citizens and their descendants who inhabited the territories lost by Romania in 1940, namely Bessarabia, now the Republic of Moldova, Northern Bukovina and Southern Bessarabia, now part of Ukraine. This policy has attracted important criticism from various domestic and external stakeholders, including possible beneficiaries, governments of neighbouring countries and European politicians. Overtly passionate arguments and a search for sensationalism seem to dominate the debates about the restoration of Romanian citizenship, thus obscuring the complex purposes and implications of the policy. In this short piece, I point out various justifications of this policy and underline several of its major implications. Continue reading