Citizenship management: On the politics of being included-out

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Many in Hong Kong have identified the city as ‘half-sovereign’ or ‘conditionally sovereign’, as postcoloniality has brought about new ruptures and shifting boundaries of citizenship in economic, cultural and legal terms. The work of deciphering questions of belonging is still ongoing, and has in fact intensified in recent times. Increasingly, who qualifies as a citizen and where their sense of home is have become vital questions for two visible groups: the Chinese Mainlanders whose personal and cultural fortunes have been transformed by opportunities presented by the permeability of the city-border, and the foreign domestic helpers whose right of belonging has been caught up in discriminatory immigration laws. My argument is that their fates are conjoined by what I call the state of being ‘included-out’, something augmented by nebulous doctrines of citizenship rights as well as by legalized and informal forms of cultural racialism. Through an analysis of the landscape of human rights struggles concerning the right of abode for people caught in half-sovereignty, I hope to outline the biopolitical continuum of those ‘included-out’ in Hong Kong’s citizenship management regime. Copyright © 2015 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-340
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Issue number3
Early online dateMar 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2016


Erni, J. N. (2016). Citizenship management: On the politics of being included-out. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 19(3), 323-340. doi: 10.1177/1367877915573772


  • Biopolitics
  • Citizenship management
  • Hong Kong
  • Human rights laws
  • Immigration policies
  • Right of abode
  • Director of Immigration v. Chong Fung Yuen
  • Vallejos and Daniel v. Commission of Registration


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