- Format: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-6736-1
- Pages: 248
- Price: £85.00
- Published Date: July 2023
For the decade up to 2020, the Republic of Cyprus opened a route to naturalisation and citizenship by investment for non-nationals who wanted access to the EU - many of them wealthy Russians who had profited from the post-Soviet era. The magnitude of the phenomenon is staggering. Thousands of Russian, Chinese, and other investors became Cypriots by buying properties - and therefore passports - on the island. The 'EU passport' became the country's major export, and the city of Limassol changed dramatically to accommodate the skyscrapers ('passport towers') built on the seafront.
This book shows how a national passport becomes a global commodity, and unpacks the complex implications on the ground and in the EU. It interrogates the golden passports' right of money (jus pecuniae), which complicates existing citizenship structures associated with ancestry and territory. Examining the mobility of international elites, the ethnography contributes an original angle to migration studies, as golden passports suggest that citizenship has become a tool for the mobility of the rich. Through close engagement with the situation in Cyprus, Passport island shows how the global market for passports is tied up with economic crises, migration, property, inequality, and European politics. The book argues that the commodification of citizenship represents a new form of offshoring by other means.
Introduction: The world according to jus pecuniae
1 Location: On research where a Republic is (re)made
2 CIPizenship: On the making of golden passports
3 Makers: On the art of selling a passport
4 Takers: On offshore citizens in Cyprus
5 Markets: On the global economy of selling citizenship
Conclusion: Propertied citizenship
Theodoros Rakopoulos is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo. He is author of From clans to co-ops: Confiscated mafia land in Sicily and editor of The global life of austerity: Comparing beyond Europe.