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Merizenship: Theorizing an Informal Citizenship Based on Merit

Does merit influence access to key rights? Do its effects transcend citizenship? What are the legal mechanisms at play connecting presumed merit and access to rights, migratory statuses, and citizenship? My goal is to approach these questions with the aid of the concept of merizenship, zooming in on immigration, citizenship, social assistance, criminal and housing law in the EU and the US. I hypothesize that merizenship transcends individual legal systems, creating a global privileged class: merizens. Merizenship is an informal global citizenship benefiting non-citizens and citizens alike, as long as these are regarded as bringing (economic) added value to their society. Merizenship benefits the meritorious people and has far-reaching implications in terms of access to rights, migratory statuses, and citizenship.

Senior Researcher
  • FWO (2021-2024)


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