States are more and more placed in situations in which they are asked or have to care for their citizens abroad. What forms this care has taken and the boundaries of what it now comes to encompass have evolved over the past decades in many western countries. In this seminar we will discuss how states are symbolically constituting who is belonging to the political community, and why, in a sense that goes beyond its formal, usually territorial, determination in possessing a specific legal status – being a citizen or a foreign resident – in relation to the state.