Ambiguous Subjectivity, Irregular Citizenship: From Inside/Outside to Being Caught In-between

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This paper reflects on the recent development of new and innovative ways of thinking about political subjectivity in international politics as flexible and contingent, by specifically considering ambiguity (in-between-ness) as an important, yet under-theorized, aspect of how political subjectivity is experienced in this way. It does so by focusing on the question of irregular citizenship, where people get caught between citizenship and migration. Focusing on the constant question mark around citizenship and around the alternative of being a migrant in the everyday life of certain people in the US and in Europe, this paper unpacks how ambiguity is constitutive of political identity and belonging. It argues that Julia Kristeva’s notion of ‘foreigness’ offers a useful way of understanding such experiences of Being which escape both citizenship and migration: by showing how such experiences escape through embodiment in stylistic emotions (for example, music, friendship, family ties).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-175
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Political Sociology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • ambiguouity
  • subjectivity
  • irregular citizenship
  • Julia Kristeva
  • emotion
  • foreignness


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