Citizenship as Accumulation by Dispossession: The Paradox of Settler Colonial Citizenship

Areej Sabbagh-Khoury*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This article extends critical trends of citizenship studies and the theory of accumulation by dispossession to articulate how settler colonial citizenship is instantiated through the active accrual of land and resources and how the emerging settler colonial citizenship entrenches both structural subjugation and resistance. The article then examines the reformation of the boundaries of citizenship through indigenous agency. I do so through examining the Palestinian citizens in Israel, specifically centering the Internally Displaced Persons—Palestinians who received Israeli citizenship even as they were displaced from their places of origin. I conclude by asserting citizenship’s double paradox in settler colonial contexts: It regulates certain rights and mobilities but simultaneously entraps the indigenous in a structure in which recursive accumulation is constitutive, thus entrenching dispossession and the further loss of collective rights and other claims.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)151-178
Number of pages28
JournalSociological Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Sociological Association 2022.


  • Israel/Palestine
  • accumulation by dispossession
  • agency
  • citizenship
  • indigenous
  • settler colonialism
  • sovereignty


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