The Politics of a Multi-level Citizenship: French Republicanism, Roma Mobility and the EU

Owen Parker (Corresponding Author), David Toke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


With the emergence of European Union citizenship as a formal legal category, many scholars from a variety of perspectives have considered its political and normative significance. This article seeks to demonstrate that the enactment of European citizenship through the movement across national borders of EU citizens exposes an inherent but frequently hidden tension within the category of citizenship: namely, in the relationship between mobility and integration. It is, we argue, the exposure of this tension and the concomitant re-politicisation of citizenship via this enactment which is of most ethico-political value in a European citizenship. We make this argument with reference to the politics of a multi-level European citizenship and, in particular, with reference to interactions between a particular nation—France—and the EU on the issue of “Roma” mobility. We argue that while French discourses have tended to interpret mobility and integration as in tension, EU discourses archetypically emphasise the ways in which mobility facilitates integration. That said, EU and national discourses are not easily separable. We demonstrate that each has impacted upon the other and highlight the ways in which this interaction exposes the tension in the mobility–integration relationship and in so doing problematises the meaning and limits of citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-378
Number of pages19
JournalGlobal Society
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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