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Lecture | Leiden University Nationalism Network

The economic value of citizenship: nation-building, immigration and welfare entitlement in the early European welfare state

Wednesday 5 April 2023
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference room (2.60)


Welfare states have been central instruments of nation-building between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, notably by giving an economic value to citizenship. In this period, being a citizen started to entail some guarantee of protection against economic insecurity in old age, compensation for work accidents, and assistance in poor health, and not only civil or political rights. However, in many cases this economic value of citizenship could only be enshrined if non-citizens were excluded from it. This paper examines how early European welfare states discriminated between citizens and non-citizens in welfare entitlement, how states justified these discriminations, and how these discriminations fade out and perdure.


Alexandre Afonso is an associate professor in the department of public administration at Leiden University. His research areas are the comparative political economy of labour markets, welfare states and immigration. He is writing a book under contract with Oxford University Press entitled “Welfare States, Closed Borders”. He has held positions at the European University Institute in Florence and King’s College London, and now holds a VIDI grant of the Dutch science foundation NWO.

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The meeting will be held on campus, at the Institute for History, Huizinga-Building 2.60, but will also be streamed via Zoom.


Meeting ID: 649 1054 6637 Passcode: Hqw$09SV

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