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Ulster and Rhodesia in an age of imperial retreat
Donal Lowry

Analogies between Unionist Ulster and White Rhodesia were drawn throughout the twentieth century, by such diverse figures as King George V, Sir Charles Coghlan, Winston Churchill, Sir Roy Welensky, Sir Edgar Whitehead, Harold Wilson and Captain Terence O’Neill. Both communities shared a growing sense of alienation from Britain and suspicion of metropolitan ‘betrayal’. ‘Imperial consciousness’ could be both highly parochial and expansive, for one did not need to know any detail about the empire to believe it was ‘great’. Both communities could identify more readily with an imperial monarchy than with the metropolitan state, particularly when decolonisation coincided with Britain’s decision to join the EEC. UDI came to represent a ‘frontier’ reassertion of ‘greater’ British loyalty, admired in both communities which had originated in systematic conquests and colonisations, albeit in periods widely separated in time. A dated vocabulary of empire, as well as an attribution of ‘racial’ characteristics to sectarian differences, proved to be particularly resilient in Ulster, heightening its external, rather than integral, relationship to the wider British state. Thus, for Wilson, the unrequited Britishness of both self-governing communities provided him with the most acute external problems of his premiership and, indeed, of post-war Britain.

in The break-up of Greater Britain
Greater Britain in the Second World War and beyond
Wendy Webster

‘Together’ was the slogan of British imperial propaganda during the Second World War, and propagandists put in considerable effort to show a togetherness that crossed differences of race and ethnicity. This chapter looks at the racial hierarchies and definitions of Britishness which gave the lie to this official rhetoric of togetherness. It demonstrates that racism ran like a deep scar through the policies of governments in Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. In different places and at different moments, white people were privileged in decisions about who could enlist in the armed forces, who could serve as combatants, who received promotion and who was evacuated from colonies invaded by the Japanese. The chapter traces some of the experiences and feelings of people assigned different places in the racial hierarchy and the continued impact of racial exclusion and definitions of Britishness in the aftermath of war.

in The break-up of Greater Britain
Mass migration from Britain to the Commonwealth, 1945–2000
Jean P. Smith

Though it has received less attention than migration to the United Kingdom after the Second World War, rates of migration from the United Kingdom were significant in this period, outpacing immigration until late into the twentieth century. While some Britons moved to destinations outside of the Commonwealth, such as the United States and, later, Europe, the majority moved to the settler colonies of the ‘old’ Commonwealth: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Rhodesia. These nations offered subsidies and incentives to British and other European migrants as they sought to increase their supply of skilled workers and increase their white populations. Despite the increasing political separation between Britain and the former Dominions and the development of domestic rather than imperial national cultures and identities, until the late twentieth century these countries continued to recruit and subsidise British migration. This migration reflects the long legacy of imperial and settler colonial racial ideologies not only in the formation of these immigration policies, but also in often implicit beliefs about identity and belonging, about who is a desirable migrant and what kind of migration is unremarkable.

in The break-up of Greater Britain
The (British) Commonwealth of Nations, decolonisation and the break-up of Greater Britain
Andrew Dilley

The transformation of the tight-knit interwar British Commonwealth of Nations in the post-war world into a loose international association was a major element of British decolonisation. This chapter reconceptualises this changing nature of the Commonwealth emphasising discontinuity and distinguishing two separate entities: an Empire-Commonwealth, and a post-colonial Commonwealth. The chapter charts the loose practices of coordination of the Empire-Commonwealth, before arguing that the dramatic transformation of global institutions, power and culture after 1945 then reshaped the Commonwealth, leaving a post-colonial Commonwealth shorn the attributes of a supra-national political entity (however informal) which characterised its interwar predecessor.

in The break-up of Greater Britain
The Falklands and Gibraltar in Thatcher’s (Greater) Britain
Ezequiel Mercau

This chapter examines the evolution of the disputes in the Falklands and Gibraltar – two territories that punched well above their weight in Thatcher’s Britain – within the broader context of the unravelling of Greater Britain in the wake of empire. It focuses on a number of crises in the early 1980s –particularly the British Nationality Act of 1981, the Falklands War and the decision to close the Royal Naval Dockyard in Gibraltar. This was a time of uncertainty in both British Overseas Territories – a time of transition, hopeful expectations and worrying disappointments – and these events provoked an emotional rollercoaster in both territories, thrusting Gibraltarians and Falkland Islanders in all directions. At the heart of this was the evolving nature of these communities’ bond with Britain, which had until then been the solid bedrock of their national identification. The chapter argues that it is only by examining the disputes side by side that we can appreciate how some of the key forces driving the local responses to these international events transcended the territories themselves. Looking at these two cases together through the transnational prism of Greater Britain can help us better understand their disproportionate reverberations in Thatcher’s Britain.

in The break-up of Greater Britain
Non-decisionism and state violence across temporal and geopolitical space from Bhutan to the United States
Odessa Gonzalez Benson, Yoosun Park, Francis Tom Temprosa, and Dilli Gautam

The implications of statelessness at refugees’ end of life are profound, but socio-political exclusion in old age is rarely examined. Resettlement with a path to citizenship is considered a durable solution. But in this chapter, we interrogate a limit case: older monoglot refugees from Bhutan find themselves resettled yet stateless in the United States. This limit case illustrates how U.S. refugee law clashes with U.S. citizenship laws, specifically policies on language, to create the precarious – and permanent – situation of statelessness for older refugees, with no viable path of ever becoming U.S. citizens. We argue that the failure of the U.S. state to decide and act to make an exception in this case is a form of state violence, extending theories that draw upon Giorgio Agamben’s ‘state of exception’. Non-decisionism, as the philosophical reverse of decisionism, also constitutes state violence. Furthermore, we argue for linking the decisionism of the Bhutanese state some 30 years ago with the non-decisionism of the American state currently. Non-decisionism is not an anomaly but a rule, its existence across time and across a state’s territorial boundaries acknowledged. For the older monoglot Bhutanese refugees in the United States, it is a suspension of inclusion, rather than merely an effect of exclusion; they are caught in a violent cyclical suspension of hope and despair that they would be one day accommodated into a polity. The weight of state violence notwithstanding, contestations materialise in localised community efforts for resistance and redress, for dignity upon old age and death for stateless refugees.

in Statelessness, governance, and the problem of citizenship
Applying intersectionality to understand statelessness in Europe
Deirdre Brennan, Nina Murray, and Allison J. Petrozziello

This chapter argues for the usefulness of intersectional feminist analysis in statelessness work. It presents an introductory analysis of how a complex web of power, socio-cultural, disciplinary, interpersonal, hegemonic, and structural relations impact those affected by statelessness. The discussion is grounded in the experiences of multiply marginalised populations in Europe, such as Romani women and same-sex parents, as documented by the European Network on Statelessness. The authors contribute theoretical and practical expertise to move the sector towards a more nuanced understanding of the lived experiences of people affected by multiple forms of discrimination and statelessness, and what this means for policy advocacy in the short and longer term. By applying intersectionality, researchers and advocates can look inside categories, such as a minority group or ‘the stateless’, to understand differences in lived experiences and stitch together new understandings, policy solutions, and effective coalitions for change. In the longer term, intersectional thinking enables those coalitions to transform governance by dismantling exclusionary forms of citizenship which are rooted in patriarchy and institutionalised racism. The authors contend that starting from the lived experiences of stateless people, and asking the other question(s), can make a promising starting point in the political project of fulfilling multiply marginalised people’s human right to a nationality.

in Statelessness, governance, and the problem of citizenship
Citizenship choices among the stateless youth in Estonia
Maarja Vollmer

In 1991, just after the re-independence of Estonia, people who had held Soviet citizenship – then rendered stateless – constituted 32% of the population. In 2018, the proportion was 6%, meaning that approximately 77,000 individuals had not naturalised in 28 years. What is more, an additional 18,000 young stateless persons have been born and raised in Estonia in the same period. These people have had (and continue to have) the possibility to acquire Estonian citizenship through the naturalisation process. At the same time, they also have the option of rejecting it and living with an unidentified citizenship. Such a status sets some restrictions (such as lack of free movement within the European Union and lack of voting rights), but does not limit their everyday life to a substantial extent. The aim of this chapter is to explore the motivations of young stateless people in acquiring Estonian citizenship in the face of continued statelessness. Through secondary data analysis, combined with in-depth interviews with stateless young people, findings indicate that citizenship is not simply about a rational pursuit of state rights and benefits, but involves questions about belonging, nationalism, and legitimacy. While there are practical reasons for not acquiring citizenship, the stateless youth in Estonia have experienced overall exclusionary attitudes from the majority population and the state via national policies. Moreover, the citizenship process has proven to be so uncompromising that even people who have gone to Estonian schools, speak Estonian, and are integrated into Estonia have not always managed to naturalise.

in Statelessness, governance, and the problem of citizenship
Jan Lukas Buterman

Statelessness and citizenship fall along a fluid and unstable continuum that is formed, deployed, and maintained by an assemblage of administrative technologies and human actors. This includes: technological artefacts (such as birth certificates and other state-issued identification documents), technological infrastructures (such as internationally shared passenger name records for air travellers), and statutory and treaty instruments (such as citizenship laws and international treaties). Irregularities arising in such an assemblage lead to a troubling of citizenship or even outright statelessness. This chapter recognises that statelessness can be understood as a failure of the technology of citizenship. As such, it examines some of the ways in which birth certificates privilege a particular type of citizenship. This is a citizenship predicated on cisheterosexual norms. This has significant effects on the governance of citizenship. First, people born within a particular jurisdiction who do not comply with cisheterosexual norms may be barred from accessing full recognition of their citizenship. Second, these norms add barriers to potential or eventual citizenship for those who want or need to change jurisdictions. This chapter advocates a turn away from the fetishisation of birth certificates as they currently stand. It suggests instead the need for a reassessment and change in approaches to such technologies of citizenship and identification at both state and global levels.

in Statelessness, governance, and the problem of citizenship
Using norms to promote progress on the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness
Melissa Schnyder

This chapter explores how civil society organisations (CSOs) working to end statelessness use norm-based advocacy strategies to effect political and social change. In particular, it examines how they do this in relation to the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness (Action Plan). The CSOs of focus include local-level community groups, national and regional non-governmental organisations, and regional networks of individual experts. Highlighting specific examples from a content analysis of CSO documents, public statements, and discourse, the chapter analyses how CSOs attempt to ‘foreground’ and dismantle problematic social norms that relate to causes of statelessness. It observes that CSOs use two strategies – ‘normative reframing’ and ‘normative innovation’ – to advance alternative norms in their place. First, CSOs have used normative reframing to build momentum for change. That is, they have adopted a human rights framing for the discussion of Action 2 of the Action Plan (to ensure that no child is born stateless). This has taken a regional focus on Europe. Second, CSOs are currently using normative innovation. This is in order to advance a normative framework based on a combination of equality, inclusion, and anti-discrimination norms. The intention of this is to generate more progress on Action 3 (remove gender discrimination from nationality laws), an area that has seen less success than other areas. Although statelessness is the focus here, the conclusions of this research potentially hold relevance to civil society advocacy in other issue areas.

in Statelessness, governance, and the problem of citizenship