Seminar on Multiple Citizenship and Migration

This international seminar gathers experts in the field of multiple citizenship and migration, especially Latin Americans in the World. It aims to establish a debate about the innovative practices generated by this collective of multiple citizens, and their implications for public policy.
More information:
Links to contents in Spanish:






Over the last two decades a new and growing collective of migrants with multiple citizenship or nationality is performing complex practices of national belonging, circular migration and trans-generational adoption of citizenship through family history. Through such practices, this collective develops livelihood strategies linking with several nation states without necessarily involving migration or permanent residence. In many cases a second passport just facilitates tourism without a visa , business travel, or an exit strategy in times of economic or political turmoil. These practices of pluri-national, flexible and pragmatic citizenship, are generally ignored by academic and political debates which continue focus on a bi-national view of migration and citizenship (the origin-destination pair) and unidirectional and permanent migration flows that are supposed to end with the integration or “assimilation” of migrants. This international seminar is focused on the study of a collective of Latin Americans with multiple citizenship, largely in Europe or the U.S., regardless of their country of residence. The seminar brings together leading researchers from several countries, experts in multiple citizenship and migration of Latin Americans, with the aim of forming a research agenda to improve our understanding these practices, posing new theoretical and empirical challenges for public policy.

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“Passport Geographies” Call for Papers – AAG 2014

Call for Papers – Association of American Geographers (AAG) meeting 2014

April 8th -12th, 2014: Tampa Bay, Florida, USA.


Sponsored by the Population Specialty Group (PSP) at AAG

Download Call for Papers in PDF


Pablo Mateos, CIESAS, Mexico / University College London, UK
Adam Dennett, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, UK
Fernando Riosmena, Department of Geography, University of Colorado at Boulder

Map of the forbidden world

Map of the ‘forbidden World’ (Le Monde Diplomatique, 2013)


Scholarly attention in migration studies has tended to sideline the question of migrant citizenship as a binary condition given by the migrant’s position in an ‘integration continuum’ between an origin and a destination country. This has meant that nationality, understood as formal membership in one or more States, is generally treated as a rather secondary factor in explaining various migrants outcomes. However, which passport/s a person is entitled to do actually determine many of his/her life chances and those of his/her family and descendants, mediated in terms of their associated mobility rights. A world hierarchy of passports (Castles, 2005) is emerging that determines people chances in life through a system that Dorling (2011) has termed ‘global apartheid’ ultimately based on race, social class and education, and disguised under a ‘geography of passports’. Such system is governed by immigration legislation that permits visa-free travel for a privileged minority with certain passports, while imposing a host of increasing mobility restrictions and life threatening situations to others with the wrong kind of passports. Some of these marginalized nationals can circumvent these immigration restrictions by benefiting from asymmetric legislation on naturalization – including language and citizenship tests and reduced residency exceptions for kin states and ex-colonies-, ius sanginis provisions for ancestry-based transmission of citizenship, family reunion, mixed marriages, and some other routes to citizenship that privilege a few deemed to fit well into the nation. In this view, as opposed to the binary origin-destination perspective, migrants take pragmatic citizenship practices within a complex system of ‘citizenship constellations’ (Bauböck, 2010) maximizing their chances in such global hierarchy of passports. Geographers are well positioned to study how such global hierarchy of passports is enabling or restricting pragmatic citizenship practices and how these in turn are introducing complex spatialities of national state membership; new ‘passport geographies’.


Papers in this session may discuss issues relating to:

  • Multiple citizenship and migration
  • Ancestry-based access to citizenship
  • Race and citizenship
  • The geography of visa-free travel
  • Integrated spaces of free mobility (Schengen, Mercosur, ASEAN, others)
  • Exceptions in naturalization rules
  • Citizenship and language tests
  • Network analysis of country-to-country travel restrictions (visas, naturalization, stocks, etc)
  • The geography of naturalization rates
  • European Union citizenship and mobility of third country nationals
  • Return migration and dual citizenship
  • Pathways to widen mobility rights
  • Hierarchies of citizens
  • Postnational citizenship
  • Citizens of convenience
  • Passport discrimination
  • Border control technologies and global apartheid


Please e-mail the abstract and key words with your expression of intent to Pablo Mateos ( on or before November 19th, 2013. Please make sure that your abstract conforms to the AAG guidelines in relation to title, word limit and key words and as specified at <>. An abstract should be no more than 250 words that describes the paper’s purpose, methods, and conclusions as well as to include keywords..


Sept. 30th, 2013: Call for papers published.

Oct. 23rd, 2013: Deadline AAG Early bird registration rate. If interested please submit your paper by this date via Upon registration you will be given a participant number (PIN). Send the PIN and a copy of your final abstract to

Nov. 19th, 2013: Deadline abstract submission to session convenors. Please submit an abstract and keywords with your expression of intent to

Nov. 22nd, 2013: Session finalization. Session organizers determine papers accepted for the session and notify authors.

Dec. 1st, 2013: Deadline final abstract submission to AAG, via All participants must register individually via this site, paying the registration fees. Upon registration you will be given a participant number (PIN). Send the PIN and a copy of your final abstract to . Please be aware that neither the organizers nor the AAG will edit the abstracts.

Dec. 3rd, 2013: AAG session registration deadline. Sessions submitted to AAG for approval.

Apr. 8th -12th, 2014: AAG meeting, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA.


Bauböck, R. (2010). Studying Citizenship Constellations. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(5), 847–859. doi:10.1080/13691831003764375

Castles, S. (2005). Nation and Empire: Hierarchies of Citizenship in the New Global Order. International Politics, 42(2), 203–224. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ip.8800107

Dorling, D. (2011). Possible “peak population”: a world without borders? |. Open Democracy.

Le Monde Diplomatique. (2013). Mourir aux portes de l’Europe – Les blogs du Diplo. Paris.


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Most common surnames in Britain mapped

A team of geographers at University College London, led by Prof. Paul Longley and Muhammad Adnan have created a map of the most popular surnames around Britain.

names map

The map shows the distribution of the top three surnames by area using the electoral register. In addition to this, Twitter account surnames have also been included. Surnames are coloured according to their cultural, ethnic and linguistic origin according to the Onomap name classification

The results show a marked difference between the two data sources, with Twitter names diverging from national and regional stereotypes. In the general population (electoral register), Smith dominates in England, Jones in Wales, while Scotland is dotted with Campbells and Robertsons. Switch to Twitter, and many more non-British names appear in these areas.

The map has received attention from various newspaper media:

The Guardian

Daily Mail

Evening Standard

Buckingham Helard

Bristol Post

Nouvelles de France (France)



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Paper on Netnography of Migration and Citizenship

Residence vs. Ancestry in Acquisition of Spanish Citizenship: A Netnography Approach

Pablo Mateos and Jorge Durand

Access to a nationality from a European union (EU) country has become a key migration strategy for people from outside the eu and their families. This paper explores access to Spanish citizenship, through an innovative methodology, “netnography”. We analyzed an internet discussion group (41 000 posts and 2 860 individuals), where migrants share their concerns about the cumbersome Spanish naturalization process. We identify a series of strategies to access Spanish citizenship that seek to maximize the possibilities given by residence experience in Spain or Spanish ancestry (a sort of family endowment that we call “ethnic capital” here). These factors create an unequal pattern in the “geography of naturalization”,
marked by the history of Spanish emigration and immigration policies, woven together in the complex web of the personal experiences of migrants, who are constantly faced with the question: residence or ancestry?

Mateos, P., and Durand, J. (2012) Residence vs. ancestry in acquisition of Spanish citizenship; A ‘netnography’ approach. Migraciones Internacionales, 6 (4), 9-46


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Paper published in PLOS ONE

Forget Social Networks, our names link us together in cultural and ethnic communities worldwide

“Our forenames and surnames are connected into distinct global networks of cultural, ethnic and linguistic communities” ( ). These are revealed for the first time y a team of geographers in a paper published in Public Library of Science (PLoS ONE) 

Mateos, P., Longley, P.A. and O’Sullivan, D. (2011) Ethnicity and Population Structure in Personal Naming Networks. PloS ONE (Public Library of Science) 6 (9) e22943 [article]

The network shows a selection of surnames in the city of Auckland (NZ)
using data from the 2006 Electoral Register. Each node represents a unique
surname and the links are common forenames shared between a surname pair.
The network’s topological structure reveals clear clustering in Auckland’s
naming practices, reflecting closely-knit social networks and ethno-cultural
customs that prevent cross-cultural (fore-)naming. For example the bottom third
of the figure contains a subnetwork of names that are Tongan, Samoan and other
Pacific Islanders. The full version of this network including the actual surnames
can be visualized in an online version available at  This Figure can be navigated with full panning and
zooming capabilities for flexible exploration. For more details on how the
network was built see Mateos et al. 2011.



Figure: A naming network built from publicly available telephone directories and population registers

The apparently innocent decision of naming a newborn baby anywhere in the world, actually hides a heavy cultural baggage reflecting social norms and ethno-cultural customs that have developed over generations.

Through extensive academic research in 17 countries collecting the names of 118 million individuals in telephone directories and electoral registers, a team of Geographers at University College London and the University of Auckland reveal for the first time how ‘naming networks’ of forenames and surnames provide a valuable representation of cultural, ethnic and linguistic population structure around the world.

Dr. Pablo Mateos, Lecturer at Department of Geography in University College London (UCL) who led the research, says: “what really stroke us was to find clusters of social and ethno-cultural communities that simply ‘emerge’ from the aggregation of millions of individual parental decisions on giving names to their children across the world, without introducing any prior knowledge about a name’s origins”.

This article clearly shows that the way in which we choose our names is far from random, rather reflecting stark identity affiliations, geographical origins and social strata even in today’s highly interconnected world.

This innovative method of community assignment helps to reveal the degree of isolation, integration or overlap between population groups in our rapidly globalising world. As such, this work has important implications for research in population genetics, public health, and social science adding new understandings of migration, identity, integration and social interaction across the world.


More information:

Full paper:


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Joined the Editorial Board of Human Biology

Pablo Mateos joins the Editorial Board of the journal Human Biology

Human Biology

Human Biology is the official publication of the American Association of Anthropological Genetics (AAAG). It publishes multidisciplinary articles on human biology and evolution with an anthropological focus.  It has proved as a very successful forum for interdisciplinary work on the fields of human population genetics, evolutionary and genetic demography, quantitative genetics, evolutionary biology, ancient DNA studies, biological anthropological and cultural diversity inferred from linguistic variability, ethnological diversity, archaeological evidence, etc.).

Pablo’s work on the geography of names and ethnicity has attracted the attention of population geneticists in various countries and following invitations to present at several interdisciplinary conferences in this area he has now been invited to join the editorial board of Human Biology (2010-2014). His work on the geography and ethnicity of people’s names has focussed on challenging established myths about human group identity and the consequences of contemporary migration flows for population structure over space, in particular developing applications in ethnic inequalities in health and residential segregation in several countries.


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National Geographic publishes UCL surname map of the U.S.

National Geographic magazine has published a tag map of US surnames compiled by geographers at University College London (UCL), James Cheshire, Paul Longley and Pablo Mateos.

The February 2011 issue of National Geographic (page 22-23) includes a double spread with this innovative map of the US most common surnames by State

An on-line version of the map and article is available at:

What’s in a Surname? A new view of the United States based on the distribution of common last names shows centuries of history and echoes some of America’s great immigration sagas. To compile this data, geographers at University College London used phone directories to find the predominant surnames in each state. Software then identified the probable provenances of the 181 names that emerged.

Many of these names came from Great Britain, reflecting the long head start the British had over many other settlers. The low diversity of names in parts of the British Isles also had an impact. Williams, for example, was a common name among Welsh immigrants—and is still among the top names in many American states.

But that’s not the only factor. Slaves often took their owners’ names, so about one in five Americans now named Smith are African American. In addition, many newcomers’ names were anglicized to ease assimilation. The map’s scale matters too. “If we did a map of New York like this,” says project member James Cheshire, “the diversity would be phenomenal”—a testament to that city’s role as a once-and-present gateway to America. —A. R. Williams”

The data derive from a UCL research project titled “Worldnames” and Mateos (2007) Onomap name-to-ethnicity classification. More information and worldwide coverage of surnames at:
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Seminar « Urban Frontiers / Les frontières de la ville» , Institut Francais de Geopolitique, Universite Paris 8

Seminar « Urban Frontiers / Les frontières de la ville» , Institut Francais de Geopolitique,  Universite Paris 8, 18 June 2010

This seminar evaluated evidence on immigrant spatial concentration in Europe and its alleged effects on social integration, focusing on issues of measurement in the UK, Netherlands, France and Spain.

Pablo Mateos talked about his work on names and ethnicity as an alternative method to study residential segregation in various countries. The rest of the speakers were highly established Geographers working on segregation: Prof. Ceri Peach (Oxford), Prof. Ron Johnston (Univ. of Bristol), and Prof. Sako Musterd (Univ. of Amstedarm)

More information:

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Keynote at Urban Studies conference – Univ. of Amsterdam

Pablo Mateos gave a keynote talk at a conference on Urban Studies at the the University of Amsterdam

The conference title was “The Essence of the Urban”, and it attempted to discuss questions about scholarly questions emanating from the changing form and role of cities  and about the analytical focus of the Urban Studies discipline.  Central questions discussed were What is the role of the “urban” in today’s society and how should urban scholars approach this core concept in their academic endeavors?

To explore these questions, this conference was structured into three plenary sessions that chart an evolution from the theoretical underpinnings of the urban, to a greater understanding of ‘how’ we can study cities, and finally to practical applications in a pluriform society.



Neil Brenner (New York University) / James Sidaway (Univ. of Amsterdam)- Theory
Pablo Mateos (University College London) – Methodolgoy
Maarten Hajer (University of Amsterdam) – Policy

Pablo’s talk was titled “Digital cities and volunteered geographies: Innovative methods in urban studies” (download presentation)

More information about the conference:


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Media coverage

My own research and/or the projects in which I have worked with others at UCL Geography and CASA have gained attention through the following media features:

Selected media features 2006-2008

2008  ‘Website maps surnames worldwide” BBC News, 30 Aug

2008   “Putting you on the map: the website that pinpoints where your name is in the world’ The Independent 30 Aug

2008 ‘Global surname website launched’ Channel 4 News, 30 Aug

2008  ‘Mapping London’s immigration’ BBC News, 27 March

2007  ‘The 50 most common British surnames, by postal town‘ The Observer 18 Apr.

2007  ‘Britain’s moving story’ The New Statesman, 15 January

2007   ‘Website focus on surnames’, Practical Family History magazine, February (110) p. 64-65

2006   ‘The Global Geography of Surnames”, Geographical: The magazine of the Royal Geographical Society, November, v. 78 (11) p. 12

2006   ‘The name game: How to trace your surname across the globe’, The Times, 31 August, front cover and p.5

2006   ‘Riddle of the most travelled Britons’, The Independent, 31 August, p.10

2006   ‘How British names conquered the world’, Daily Telegraph, 31 August, p. 4

2006   ‘Most adventurous surnames mapped’ BBC News on-line, 31 August.

2006   ‘End of the innuendo’, The Guardian, news blog, 31 August.

2006   ‘Name check reveals a new pecking order’, The Sunday Times, 4 June, p.8

2005   ‘Team find sickly postcodes’, report in Camden New Journal, 17 July, p. 17.

2005   ‘This sceptered aisle: Tesco is successful chiefly because it understands Britain. But it is also changing the place’, The Economist, 4 August, p. 23

Press Coverage in August-September 2008, after the launch of WorldNames website:

BBC Online – [link]
BBC Radio 4 – [link] and [link]
The Independent [link]
Channel4 news – [link]
Telegraph – [link]
The Scotsman – [link]
The Press Association [link]
New Zealand Herald – [link]
SG.HU (Hungary)- [link] (Germany)- [link]
Telekom Presse (Austria) – [link]
Presstext (Germany)[link]
Globo (Brazil) – [link]
Yahoo News Hong Kong (Hong Kong) – [link]
Saigon Giai Phong Online (Vietnam) – [link] (Australia) [link] (Iceland) [link] (Germany) [link]
WebUser – [link]
Worthing Herald – [link]
Portugal Diario – [link]
The Dominion Post – [link]

Press Coverage in 2006, after the launch of GB Surname Profiler website:

15 Jan 2006 Sunday ObserverGlasgow Sunday Herald
16 Jan 2006 Channel 4 Website & Lunchtime News
17 Jan 2006 BBC News Feature Article / News PageEastern Daily Press,Innovations Report (German Online News), BBC Radio Linc.
18 Jan 2006 Express and Star (Midlands)Western Mail (Wales)PC Pro,Mac UserComputer BuyerComputer ShopperUCL Website,Blackpool Today.
19 Jan 2006 BBC Radio Scotland
20 Jan 2006 Guardian Weekly (International), Romford Recorder
21 Jan 2006 The TimesThe Daily Mail
24 Jan 2006 Swindon Advertiser
25 Jan 2006 Radio 2 Website of the DayMiles Mendoza Website of the Day, BBC Midlands Today.
26 Jan 2006 Nottingham Evening Post
29 Jan 2006 Scunthorpe Telegraph
30 Jan 2006 Newcastle Evening Chronicle
2 Feb 2006 Leicester Mercury
10 Feb 2006 Loughborough Echo
15 Feb 2006 Time Out London (William Orbit Article)
16 Feb 2006 Computer Active
4 Jun 2006 The Sunday Times
5 Jun 2006 The MetroThe SunThe Daily MailBBC News Feature Article / News Page
9 Jun 2006 BBC2 – Have I Got News for You
8 Aug 2006 BBC OnlineeGov Monitor
14 Aug 2006 BBC Radio 2 – Miles Mendoza
21 Aug 2006 eGov Newsletter
31 Aug 2006 BBC Online, Sky NewsThe Times, The Sun, The Independent,Daily MailDaily TelegraphMetroGuardian
1 Sep 2006 Readers Digest Sept Edition, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Wales
2 Sep 2006 West Australian Newspaper , The Age (broadsheet in Melbourne, Australia)
12 Sep 2006 The Scotsman
17 Sep 2006 BBC SW Local Radio
20 Sep 2006 Directions Magazine
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