Circumcision: Immigration, Religion, History, and Constitutional Identity in Germany and the U.S.

The great waves of global migration into and out of Europe such as those that preceded World War I, followed World War II, and again drew our attention in 2015 inevitably challenge the fixity or stability of a country’s constitutional identity. Whether official ideologies are those of assimilation, integration, pluralism, or multiculturalism seems not to matter; challenges will arise no matter. Constitutional identities are not just ensembles of laws and an accumulated national jurisprudence. They are grounded in cultural configurations that evolve over long periods of time but are, for the most part, taken for granted. Continue reading

Protection and Freedom? Citizenship in Europe in the 20th and 21st Century

Book Cover Gosewinkel "Schutz und Freiheit?" Citizenship was the mark of political affiliation in Europe in the twentieth century. While estate, religion, party, class, and nation lost political significance in the century of extremes, citizenship advanced to become the decisive category of political affiliation.

In the century’s upheavals and political struggles, the legal institution of citizenship had a decisive influence on the limits of a political community, on in- and exclusion, and thus on an individual’s opportunities in life. Its enfranchisement included the obligation to risk life and limb for the survival of one’s country in exchange for the right to protection, participation in the expanding political and social rights in the democracies and welfare states of Europe and ultimately access to the new legal status of being a citizen of the European Union. Continue reading

A Matter of Security? Conscientious Objection and State Recognition

Recognition of the right to refuse military service seems at first glance to be inherently paradoxical. Yet over the course of recent decades, with the broadening of democratic discourse, democracies have begun to recognize even opposition to military service on grounds of conscience—whether religious or otherwise. Continue reading

Ende und Rückkehr der Demarkation – Wandlungen des Staatsangehörigkeitsrechts seit 1989

Der Fall der Mauer 1989 schien das Ende des harten Gehäuses der Staatlichkeit in Europa einzuläuten. Gerade in Europa hatte diese Vorstellung eine besondere historische Bedeutung. Jener Kontinent, der Jahrhunderte zuvor den Staat hervorgebracht und dessen territoriale Demarkationen zu scharfen, militärisch bewehrten Grenzen ausgebaut hatte, befreite sich 1989 von einer Grenze, die zum Symbol für die ideologische Zweiteilung in antagonistische Machtsphären geworden war. Continue reading