Statelessness Seminar Series - Dr Samantha Balaton-Chrimes

The sixth seminar in the Statelessness Seminar Series took place on 04 October, and was presented by Dr Samantha Balaton-Chrimes from Deakin University.

Statelessness and Citizenship in Kenya Presented by - Dr Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, Lecturer in International Studies, Deakin University

Statelessness as a legal and political problem has attracted increasing attention from scholars and international advocacy organisations in recent years. This attention has predominantly focused on the legal aspects of statelessness, and has generally held the acquisition of citizenship documentation as the primary goal in remedying citizenship deprivation.

This talk explores the merits of this focus through a case study of the Nubians of Kenya, widely considered stateless until recently. The talk connects the focus on citizenship as documented status to a liberal conception of citizenship, identifying the ways in which this approach is helpful – that is, as a means of pursuing legal status and possession of individual rights.

Dr Balaton-Chrimes will also explore the more important ways in which a liberal conception of citizenship falls short of accounting for the Nubians’ citizenship problems by neglecting the more collective dimensions of citizenship practice and recognition. In particular, she will discuss the significance for citizenship of the Nubians’ 2017 acquisition of communal title deed for 288 acres of Kibra, an informal settlement in the middle of Nairobi.