Prof. Dr. Olivier Beaud

University Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), Paris, France

Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Dr. Olivier Beaud studied Public Law and Modern History at the University of Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I). His doctoral  thesis Etat et souveraineté: Eléments pour une théorie de l’Etat [State and Sovereignty: Elements for a Theory of the State] has been awarded several times. He then taught first in Lille and afterwards in Paris at the University of Panthéon-Assas (Paris II). He was member of the State Professorship Committee (jury du concours d’agrégation) in Public Law from 1995 to 1996 and 2017 to 2018. From 2001 to 2006 he was Deputy Director of the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin and 2007 to 2019 Director of the Michel Villey Institute for Legal Culture and Philosophy of Law.

Prof. Beaud has already had various research stays in Germany, including stays at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg and the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt as well as at the Humboldt University in Berlin and the University of Constance. He also spent research periods at Yale University and the University of California, Berkeley in the USA.

He is the author of several books as well as a large number of articles on constitutional law, constitutional theory, and legal theory, with a clear comparative dimension concerning the French and German legal doctrines.

In 2014 he was awarded the Reimar Lüst-Preis by the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and in 2019 he received the Prix du livre juridique for his book La République injuriée.

From March to April 2020 Prof. Dr. Olivier Beaud was a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center „Law as Culture“ in Bonn.

Research Project

“The case for a legal theory of citizenship”

Although the scientific literature on citizenship is prolific in terms of political science or political philosophy, jurists have remained aloof from the debate. There are scarcely any major studies on the subject, at least as regards citizenship stricto sensu, which is what we will be examining here. In fact, the conception of citizenship is doubly restrictive, and our purpose will be to ask why.

First of all, citizenship must be distinguished from nationality (Staatsangehörigkeit, nationalité), in the legal meaning of the term, that is, the notion of belonging to a State. A “national” of a State is a “ressortissant” in French, one who has the nationality of his State in compliance with the criteria given by that State Even though the ample literature written in English on the subject of citizenship in the sense of nationality will be touched upon, it will not be the specific subject of our research. It is, indeed, because this literature will be set aside that we can confidently assert that there is currently no major work on citizenship written by a jurist, although many have been written on nationality.

Our second restricted conception of citizenship means that we will take no account of the threefold classification given by Terence H. Marshall in his famous article «Citizenship and social class» where he distinguishes three meanings: civil, political and social. Even though “social citizenship” is a question raised when considering the asymmetry between the State, where individuals have rights, and the civil, economic and social sphere, where individuals have so-called “social rights” that are less effective, we continue to believe that, to deal properly and completely with our subject, it is better to limit citizenship to its political meaning, what you might call “classical” citizenship.

A provisional definition of citizenship will be tested during the research stay at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg. Citizenship will be viewed as “the legal status, chiefly comprising the political and civil rights enjoyed by individuals in a given political entity”. These individuals are, in the eyes of the law, citizens, and the total number of citizens comprises the people, in the legal sense of the term.

Thus, as indicated in the title of this research project, the purpose will be to draw up a legal theory of citizenship. First and foremost, it is a theory, a term increasingly rare in the field of the law, where its iteration is somewhat alarming. Thus, the purpose will not be to describe positive law as applied to citizenship, indicating the various institutions and rules (electoral law for example). Rather, it will be to think – or re-think – the concept of citizenship, a concept which seems central as such, but which is also decisive in understanding what modern political entities really are. In the definition outlined above, we took care to say that citizenship is a status granted by “a given political entity”. This deliberately vague expression echoes one of the main ideas expressed in our research over the past twenty years (see question « Des citoyennetés fédérative et impériale. Deux modes particuliers d’appartenance à la communauté politique » in O. Beaud, F. Saint-Bonnet (dir.), La citoyenneté comme appartenance à la communauté politique, Paris, forthcoming 2020). The reason we partly refuse to associate citizenship solely with the State, the pervading political form, is that the State is in competition with two marginal or marginalised political forms: federation and empire. The legal theory of citizenship proposed herein thus finds its place in a more far-reaching project, the purpose of which is the constitutional theory of the political forms it is deemed to belong to. In other words, just like sovereignty, citizenship is one of the essential categories of modern public law. Only its “theory” can demonstrate this.

Furthermore, we are talking about a LEGAL theory of citizenship. This adjective is essential. That is because it is precisely here that we depart from the vast philosophical literature in Europe as well as the United States, which of necessity has a normative conception of citizenship. There are many very interesting discussions between philosophers arguing for liberal, communitarian republican citizenships. We have already observed that the political sociology of citizenship will not be part of our subject, even though reading on the subject often provides fruitful.

Publications (selected)


  • La puissance de l’Etat [The Power of the State], Paris, PUF, coll. Léviathan, 1994, 512 p. (a largely revised version of the doctoral thesis Etat et souveraineté: Eléments pour une théorie de l’Etat) [Italian translation: La potenza dello Stato, Naples, ESI, 2003, 602 p.][there is a Serbian translation
  • Les derniers jours de Weimar. Carl Schmitt face à l’avènement du nazisme [The Last Days of Weimar: Carl Schmitt in front of the Advent of Nazism], Paris, Descartes & Cie, 1997, 254 p [Spanish translation, Los ultimos dias de Weimar, Madrid, Escolar, 2019].
  • Le sang contaminé. Essai critique sur la criminalisation de la responsabilité des gouvernants [The Contaminated Blood: A Critical Essay on the Criminalisation of the Governors’ Responsibility], Paris, PUF, coll. Béhémoth, 1999, 172 p. (Wolowski Prize of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences)
  • Théorie de la Fédération [Theory of the Federation], Paris, PUF, coll. Léviathan, 2007, 434 p., 2nd ed. (Unchanged edition, with the addition of two indexes), 2009, 448 p. [Spanish translation: Teoria de la Federacion, Madrid, Escolar, 2009, 441 p.]
  • Les libertés universitaires à l’abandon? Pour une reconnaissance pleine et entière de la liberté académique [Are the University Freedoms Being Abandoned? In Favour of a Full and Complete Recognition of Academic Freedom], Paris, Dalloz, 2010, 354 p.
  • La République injuriée. Histoire des offenses au chef de l’Etat de la IIIe à la Ve République, Paris, PUF, 2019, 678 p

Books co-written with other authors

  • O. Beaud, A. Caillé, P. Encrenaz, M. Gauchet, F. Vatin, Refonder l’Université française. Pourquoi l’enseignement supérieur reste à reconstruire [Reorganisation of the French University: Why Superior Education Remains To Be Reconstructed], Paris, La Découverte, 2010, 272 p.


  • O. Beaud and P. Wachsmann eds., Science juridique française et science juridique allemande de 1870 à 1918 [French Legal Science and German Legal Science from 1870 to 1918], Annales de la faculté de droit de Strasbourg, Nouvelle Série, n°1, Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 1997
  • O. Beaud and J.-M. Blanquer eds., La responsabilité des gouvernants [The Responsibility of Governors], Paris, Descartes & Cie, 1999
  • O. Beaud and E. Heyen eds., Une science juridique franco-allemande (Bilan critique et perspectives d’un dialogue culturel) [A Franco-German Legal Science (A Critical Assessment of A Cultural Dialogue)], Baden-Baden, Nomos, 1999
  • O. Beaud, A. Lechevalier, I. Pernice and S. Strudel eds., L’Europe en voie de Constitution. Pour un bilan critique des travaux de la Convention européenne [Europe in the Process of a Constitution: For a Critical Assessment of the Workings of the European Convention], Bruxelles, Bruylant, 2004, 856 p.
  • O. Beaud, C. Colliot-Thélène and O. Jouanjan eds., Droits de l’homme, Grundrechte, et Civil Rights, Proceedings of the Conference of 14-15 June 2002 organised by the Centre Marc Bloch of Berlin, Engel Verlag, Kehl in three issues of different reviews: Europäische  Grundrechte Zeitschrift November 2004, 31 Jg (Heft 20-21, pp. 597-619), Journal of Human Rights Journal, and Revue universelle des droits de l’homme, October 2004, Vol. 16, N° 1-4, 2004
  • O. Beaud and P. Pasquino eds., La controverse sur le gardien de la Constitution et la justice constitutionnelle. Kelsen contre Schmitt [The Controversy over the Guardian of the Constitution and Constitutional Justice: Kelsen versus Schmitt], Paris, Editions Panthéon-Assas, 2007, 220 p. [book in French and German]

Preface and editing of books

  • « Carl Schmitt, un juriste engagé » [“Carl Schmitt, a Committed Jurist”], preface to Carl Schmitt, Théorie de la Constitution (French translation of Verfassungslehre),PUF, coll. Léviathan, 1993, pp. 3-119 [partly translated in Italian in Diritto e Cultura, 1995]
  • René Capitant, Ecrits d’entre-deux-guerres (1928-1940) [Writings from the Interwar Period (1928-1940)], Presses de l’Université de Panthéon-Assas, 2004, 580 p. (texts gathered and presented by O. Beaud)
  • René Capitant, Face au nazisme. Ecrits 1933-1938 [Facing Nazism: Writings 1933-1938], Presses de l’Université de Strasbourg, 2004, 286 p. (texts gathered and presented by O. Beaud, afterword by Ph. Burrin, notes established by S. Plyer)