”Citizenship Matters”: membership(s), models, functions and tranformations of citizenship in the EU context

Course content

Does “citizenship matter”? And why? Is nationality and citizenship the same thing? What defines a citizen? And why is obtaining citizenship in certain countries easier than in others? Who can become an EU citizen? Are all passports equal? How do citizenship and policymaking work together on individual, group, and collective claims?


We explore these and many other citizenship matters.  


Citizenship defines “who we are” in the eyes of the state (demos) from a legal, political and social perspective and by juxtaposition to the “Other(s)” (nationality/identity/belonging). Citizenship matters are interlinked to several legal and political categories vital to public constitutional law, EU and international law, immigration law, and integration policies. Citizenship is also a key legal-political tool for understanding and interpreting legal reservations, analysing legal-political-historical contexts, assessing binding institutional concepts (i.e., democracy, sovereignty, constitutional values and principles), making causal connections on the determination of (individual/collective) rights of groups (i.e., gender), and also understanding agreement’s conditionalities on national-EU-international levels. Citizenship matters extend further to the EU integration project through the EU citizenship status and relate to ongoing post-modern crises and phenomena (digitalisation, migration, populism, the pandemic, economic crises, Brexit).


Knowledge of citizenship opens job opportunities in the legal profession, the public sector, rights advocacy, and other policy-impact processes, as well as in the private sector. More specifically, the curriculum-portfolio of a number of legal professions require or privilege knowledge of citizenship matters: the practitioner of the public-constitutional law (lawyer, judge, legal assistant, legal consultant), the private law, and private international law legal consultant, the government-expert consultant (citizenship experts, policy makers on migration, minority and special group’s rights, non-citizen rights, integration and inclusion-exclusion criteria on welfare benefits etc.), but also the Diplomatic corps and Embassy assistants, the public administrative employee or advisor on relevant fields (i.e. Udlændingestyrelsen and citizenship-migration relevant authorities and public services), the International Organisations or NGO collaborator-expert (i.e., the Danish Institute for Human Rights) and active citizenship campaigning groups (supporting global causes, such as tackling world poverty, equality, solidarity, social cohesion, institutional legitimacy matters, adequate access to justice and to welfare benefits, or promoting ecological consciousness, combating neighborhood crime, preserving or expanding the national identity, dealing with inclusion/exclusion of third country nationals etc.). Last but not least, citizenship is a field rich in challenges for the legal scholar: because of citizenship’s multipurpose functions and roles within the democratic systems, interest in citizenship matters and citizenship transformations is growing, as several funded studies-projects evidence.


The course structure provides four (4) consequential Learning Modules, built to a step-by-step, progressively deepening understanding of citizenship matters and beyond, conveyed through legal reasoning assessments and discussion. More specifically:


Learning Module 1Foundations of Citizenship

-1.a The "status civitatis"

-1.b Access to citizenship

-1.c Loss of citizenship 

-1.d The "domaine réservé" of the citizen: rights, duties, obligations.


Learning Module 2From Vikings to contemporary Danes

-2.a The Danish citizenship. 

-2.b The Nordic Citizenship.


Learning Module 3Supranational citizenship

-3.a EU citizenship

-3.b Contemporary challenges to EU citizenship (BREXIT; immigration-refugee crisis and statelessness; pandemic crisis and the limitation of the right of movement)


Learning Module 4Post-national models of citizenship. Critical approaches to the transformations of citizenship

4. a The "digital citizenship" and the Jus Digitalis

4. b The "investment citizenship" and the Jus Pecuniae

4. c The "green" citizenship: perspectives and challenges

4. d The "populist citizen".

Learning outcome

Knowledge: The student attains knowledge of national and supranational memberships and legal-political-social status(es), as well as on the citizenship’s relation and role in the democracies and the constitutional (national and European) legal order. At the end of the course the student will also have gained knowledge of the citizenship’s access and the loss criteria (Danish, Nordic, EU), and will have acquired understanding of the legal-political doctrine and theory of citizenship models, functions, challenges, and transformations.


Skills: The student will be provided with cognitive and methodological tools to identify, explore, comprehend, and develop the capacity to interpret the legal sources on citizenship statuses on the national and on the EU level, and to read the implicit and explicit limits, rules and conditions that lie within the relative legal doctrine on citizenship. Analytic capacities are tackled during the course (debate or simulation, national and supranational jurisprudence analysis, parliamentary debates’ critical examination of policies), expecting to develop ‘speaker’, ‘presenter’ and/or ‘conference’ abilities, while constructing legal-hermeneutical argumentation. Critical thought is also sharpened in respect of the understanding of the legal-political reality on various citizenship-related issues (i.e., groups’ claims, migration policies).


Competences: Expertise of citizenship studies can be applied, used and communicated both in the legal practice and profession, and eventually on research-academic projects as a junior expert. The capacity to conduct legal analysis of interdisciplinary subjects and advance critical approaches when examining legal formulas beyond their obvious and immediate (literal) meaning, allows one to improve understanding of policy and their consequences on the socio-economic and political sphere. Legal expertise of citizenship issues applies well on migration related topics, a knowledge required to design policy making processes on national and/or on EU level. Translating jurisprudence into practical knowledge and managing constitutional values-principles limitations, are competences much appreciated in a variety of working environments that go from legal offices to the Public Administration (civil servants, immigration offices, welfare offices), to the field of international-humanitarian cooperation, to capacity building consultant. From a much larger perspective, civic responsiveness and social-political awareness are strengthened, and the ability in competing and pursuing ideals-goals is fostered.

PP presentations, interactive maps and handouts are feasible learning tools. Kahoot and other tools will be used to activate students. Students will be encouraged to actively participate by presenting and debating on citizenship controversies. Individual and group work focus on fostering free, creative, dynamic, and independent thought based on legal inputs, in order to challenge the traditional concepts and notions on citizenship. Exercise includes simulations of legal debate, and defensive strategies (i.e., EU Court level or on Parliamentary debates) on selected citizenship cases (i.e., in the CJEU, or controversies regarding citizenship acquisition-loss, i.e., BREXIT). Participation-collaboration opportunities with CECS’ ongoing research projects will be further offered.

MA: 15 ECTS (~750 pages)

(see content description for details)

Learning Module 1. Foundations of Citizenship

Learning Module 2. National citizenship. From Vikings to contemporary Danes

Learning Module 3. Supranational citizenship. EU citizenship and EU integration

Learning Module 4. Post-national models of citizenship. Problematic-critical approaches on the transformations of citizenship


Compulsory Readings (two options to choose from, each option is composed by ~750 pages).

Apart from the legal texts (i.e. Danish Nationality Law, Nordic Cooperation, ECJ case-studies)  

-R. Bellamy, 2008. Citizenship. A very short introduction, Oxford University Press (~p. 120) together with

-J. Shaw, 2021. The People in Question. Citizenship and Constitutions in Uncertain times, Bristol University Press (~p. 200)

-L. Ceccarini, 2021. The Digital Citizen(ship). Politics and Democracy in the Networked Society, Edward Elgar Publishing (~p. 170)

-A. Dobson, D. Bell, 2005. Environmental Citizenship, MIT (~p. 300)


Or alternatively:

-A. Shachar, R. Bauböck, I. Bloemraad, M. Vink (eds.), 2017. The Oxford Handbook of Citizenship, Oxford University Press (~p. 750)

Power point presentations and handouts will be available for students.


Non Compulsory/Additional Readings (not exhaustive list; readings will be provided by the lecturer):

-R. Heinisch, E. Massetti, O. Mazzoleni (eds.), 2020. The People and the Nation. Populism and Ethno-Territorial Politics in Europe

-R. Beiner, Theorising Citizenship

-D. Archibugi, The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy

-A. Andriopoulou, The “Idealtype of the Populist Citizen” 

-A. Andriopoulou, The “Ius Pecuniae”. The Prize of Citizenship

-D. Kochenov, Citizenship

-T. Gabrielson, The Green citizenship: a review and critique


It is illegal to share digital textbooks with each other without permission from the copyright holder.

Good command of English, ready and willing participation, openmindedness, willingness to challenge conventional knowledge, active citizenship skills are appreciated

Please observe, this course is part of iCourts Excellence Programme (iEP) – International Law and Courts in a Global World. Students who sign up for the iEP become iCourts Student Fellows and will get a unique opportunity to become part of the research environment of iCourts – the only centre of excellence in law in Denmark. The iEP is open to all Danish and foreign BA and MA students at the Faculty. All iCourts courses may be taken as stand-alone courses but only students who complete a total of at least 45 ECTS courses offered by the centre or of 30 ECTS such courses plus write their MA-thesis with an iCourts Supervisor will receive a certificate confirming their participation in the iEP. Read more about the programme here: https:/​/​jura.ku.dk/​icourts/​education/​excellence-programme/​

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Home assignment
Type of assessment details
Individual written assignment

Read about the descriptions of the individual exam forms, including formal requirements, scope and deadlines in the exam catalogue

Read about practical exam conditions at KUnet

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Hand in date: December 9, 2024


Hand in date: January 24, 2025

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • English
  • 412,5


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

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Please see timetable for teaching hours
Contracting department
  • Law
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator
  • Athanasia Andriopoulou   (22-65786c657265776d6532657268766d73747379707379446e7976326f7932686f)
Saved on the 30-04-2024

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