Defensive Citizenship in Europe: Definition and Measurement

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In this article, I define and measure the new phenomenon of defensive citizenship in Europe. The literature suggests that defensive citizenship engagement is related to attempts by entitled citizens to preserve their threatened interests. It has been on the rise worldwide, especially in Europe. Based on studies and reports on the phenomenon, I argue that defensive citizenship can be assessed among entitled citizens (those born in the country, whose both parents were born in the country) based on mistrust towards political institutions, anti-immigration attitudes and a challenging personal situation. The analysis, based on European Social Survey data, ranks European countries and uncovers concentrations of countries with high levels of defensive citizenship in Eastern Europe. I contend that this phenomenon has significant implications for the democratic functioning of European countries and the stability of the continent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-156
Number of pages9
JournalPolitical Studies Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Europe
  • citizenship
  • defensive
  • entitlement
  • government
  • immigration


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