Framing Nationality in the Migratory Context

The Elusive Category of Biduns in Kuwait

In: Middle East Law and Governance
Claire Beaugrand Institut français du Proche Orient and member of the WAFAW program,

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The biduns (“without” nationality) are the segment of the Kuwaiti population that claims entitlement to the Kuwaiti nationality whereas the State of Kuwait, while contesting the truth of their claims, has been holding them as illegal since 1986. As the bone of contention is mainly about the criteria that qualify an individual for nationality, the biduns’ issue has often been analyzed through the sole question of their deserving or proving to belong as nationals and the relations between them. This paper adds a third element, namely the label of aliens – from which the biduns strongly distance themselves, and more broadly the migratory context in which the debate takes place. By analyzing the socially constructed migrants categories that are imposed on, shaped, and contested by the biduns along with other actors, this research investigates the ways in which the elusive category of biduns serves to define nationality but also to fulfill migration policy goals.

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