Theodoros Rakopoulos
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On crisis and the making of golden passports
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This chapter adds more fodder to presenting and problematising the specific sociocultural context in which a citizenship by investment (CΒΙ, or CIP) programme develops. Reviewing the economics (offshoring and crisis) and politics (moral discourses and choices on crisis) that boosted the CBI, I here offer a rare insight into how these programmes come about. Existing studies discuss CBIs but, because they are not ethnographic, ignore the social life of the economic citizenship policies creation and application. To fill this important gap by focusing on one case – the formation and development of the Cypriot CBI as a sociohistorical product – I here offer insights drawing from the moral relativity and historical awareness of Cypriots faced with a major crisis. I argue that the moral conceptualisation of the 2013 banking crisis promoted the solidification of the CBI in Cyprus, the policy being the outcome of an offshoring history, a crisis backdrop and a moral panic promoted by liberal elites. Generally, I suggest that investment citizenship schemes are the outcome of world processes of international stratification, but also the products of specific, and normative (readings of) histories of local life. Cypriot informants believe that the CBI policy was the “oxygen” that the country needed in a time of “suffocation” – a time when Cyprus experienced the outcome of a global crunch and was of “junk status”. That peopled local history in countries that introduce CBIs is in many ways global itself: after all, the 2013 banking crisis in Cyprus was by definition an international event.

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Passport island

The market for EU citizenship in Cyprus


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