Taylor & Francis online, 16.08.2022
Citizenship Studies, 26, 6
Seemingly mundane bureaucratic papers – such as birth and marriage certificates – are official proof of legal identities and relations to kin, usually issued by the state of origin. For Syrians who have sought asylum in Germany, these documents are necessary during the asylum procedure and beyond, for certain bureaucratic procedures and the recording of crucial life events. Retracing the crafting of these documents in Syria, and their encounter with German bureaucracy, captures the depth of the entanglement between the Syrian and German citizenship regimes, as well as their discrepancies in relation to paperwork and legality. Drawing on ethnographic research with Syrians in Lebanon and in Germany, this article argues that the legal production of legality in Germany can only be achieved through legally ambiguous, if not so-called illegal, practices in Syria.