Envisioning a deterritorialized nation-state: the campaign for multiple citizenship legislation of the Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA)
Paper short abstract:
This paper discusses a form of society envisioned by emigrants in their quest for multiple citizenship in their country of origin. As an example of such a quest I take the campaign by the NRNA calling for legislation allowing multiple citizenship in Nepal, and examine its ideology and activities.
Paper long abstract:
Multiple citizenship/nationality is one of the most useful means of (re)integrating emigrants/immigrants into migrant sending/receiving countries. However, multiple citizenship/nationality is not automatically realized, but is negotiated. The negotiation redefines citizenship, yields new practices and leads to social restructuring. In the case of Nepal, negotiations around multiple citizenship started in 2003 with the campaign of an emigrants' association (the NRNA) for multiple citizenship legalization. The campaign has become a nationalistic project motivated by long-distance nationalism. However, due to political turbulence and a delay in promulgation of the new constitution, emigrants have been waiting for legislation for more than ten years. Meanwhile discussions inside the NRNA, and its negotiations with the Nepalese government, political parties, business communities and NGOs have been constructing Nepalese citizenship. A new category, "non-resident Nepalis (NRNs)", was introduced, describing a group classed between denizens and resident citizens, i.e. Nepalese-origin foreign citizens, and non-resident Nepalese citizens. The NRNA declares that NRNs will offer their knowledge, skills and capital which they have earned in their resident countries (mainly non-South Asian countries) in the form of donations and investment for the cause of nation building. In return for this contribution towards Nepal, the NRNA is demanding that those who emigrated from Nepal after the 1960s, and their descendants, should be given the status of citizens. The society which the NRNA's transnational quest envisions is a durable deterritorialized nation-state which is resourced by emigrants' transnational ties and vitalized by emigrants' sense of civic duty and rights.
Politics, culture, and cultural politics in the Himalayas