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Statelessness, identity cards and citizenship as status in the case of the Nubians of Kenya
journal contributionposted on 2014-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sam Balaton-ChrimesSam Balaton-Chrimes
Statelessness as a legal and political problem has attracted increasing attention from scholars and international advocacy organisations in recent years. This attention has predominantly focussed on the legal aspects of statelessness, and has generally held the acquisition of citizenship documentation as the primary goal in remedying citizenship deprivation. This article explores the merits of this focus through a case study of the Nubians of Kenya, widely considered stateless until recently. The article connects the focus on citizenship as documented status to a liberal conception of citizenship. The article identifies the ways in which this approach is helpful, that is, as a means of pursuing legal status and possession of individual rights. It then goes on to identify more important ways in which a liberal conception of citizenship falls short of accounting for the Nubians'; citizenship problems by neglecting the more collective dimensions of citizenship practice and recognition.