Making Up Peoples? Conferralism about Nationality


  • Maren Behrensen University of Twente


nationality, ontology of nations, national identity, nationality and gender, institutional facts


I will apply Ásta’s conferralist account of sex and gender to nationality, and distinguish two different ways in which nationality is conferred – by institutions (legal nationality), and in social interactions (social nationality). I will then turn to the moral and political conflicts that arise where different understandings of nationality and different ways of conferring it overlap and collide. My main thesis is that these conflicts are never simply factual disputes about who and what belongs to a nation, they are always normative conflicts about who ought to belong. This, in turn, means that we cannot think about the ontology of nationality without thinking about what nationality ought to be, a conclusion that is well in line with the basic tenets of conferralism.


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How to Cite

Behrensen, Maren. 2018. “Making Up Peoples? Conferralism about Nationality”. Journal of Social Ontology 4 (1). Vienna, Austria:29-51.