Imagined genetic membership

Costica Dumbrava|Published in: Citizenship and Technology, Oxford Handbook of Citizenship

windows-787486_960_720The genetic revolution triggered by the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and bolstered by the recent mapping of all human genes (the Human Genome Project) has raised hopes about treating diseases, improving life, and even defeating death. However, the rapid development of genetic technologies also prompted concerns about the ‘geneticization’ of social life,[1] as human behaviour and social interactions are increasingly viewed through the lens of genetics. The worry is that population genomics studies will contribute to legitimizing and ‘naturalizing’ inequality and to the designation of new vulnerable groups based on arbitrary patterns and statistical correlations.[2] Continue reading

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

Don’t put the baby in the dirty bathwater! A Rejoinder

forum_jus_sanguiniCostica Dumbrava |Published in: EUDO Citizenship Forum, European University Institute

This debate on citizenship and assisted reproduction technologies has been a fascinating one and has succeeded in unravelling some of the major issues about the past, present and future of ius sanguinis citizenship. I was delighted to see that many of the contributors shared my concerns about the failings of the current system of transmission of citizenship from parent to child. I learned a great deal from reading the various reactions to my deliberately provocative propositions. With these concluding remarks, I use the privilege of the last word to engage with several key points emerging from the debate and to clarify and, as much as possible, elaborate my position. However, I am hopeful that this debate does not finish here and I look forward to continuing through other ventures. Continue reading

Bloodlines and Belonging: Time to Abandon Ius Sanguinis?

reprodCostica Dumbrava | Published in: EUDO Citizenship Forum, European University Institute

The transmission of citizenship status from parents to children is a widespread modern practice that offers certain practical and normative advantages. It is relatively easy to distribute legal status to children according to parents’ citizenship, especially in the context of high mobility where the links between persons and their birthplace are becoming increasingly strained. Granting citizenship status to children of citizens may also be desirable as a way of avoiding statelessness, acknowledging special family links and fostering political links between children and the political community of their parents. These apparent advantages of ius sanguinis citizenship are, however, outweighed by a series of problems. Continue reading