The chapter introduces the social historical conjuncture around, as well as theoretical underpinnings of, uncertain citizenship. It draws on the Windrush scandal to foreground how uncertain citizenship disproportionately affects racially minoritised people, and that the racialised uncertainty of citizenship is historically embedded rather than contingent on national institutional and political ‘cultures’ or international trends. Uncertain citizenship starts from the premise that international trends need to be understood in context in order to better capture the specific histories and social and political climates that shape and impact on definitions of, and inequalities within, citizenship regimes. The chapter also introduces how citizenisation and migration are intimately connected.
Scene 1 provides information about the institutional context and processes that are at the centre of this study while it also gives more details about the methods used and the general profile of participants.
Scene 2 presents a scene from a training session organised by UKVI case workers, for registrars tasked with checking applications for Settlement on the basis of Marriage (SET(M)). The scene emphasises how documents circulate, are interpreted and must be ‘curated’ to produce an appropriate ‘picture’ for an application to be successful.
Scene 3 takes us to a language school in the North West of England, and to conversations with several migrants. It highlights the inequalities embedded in the postcolonial Anglophone world – exemplified here in the author’s own interactions with these migrants – and sets up the complex ways in which regimes of seeing and regimes of hearing operate in current language requirements for citizenisation.
Scene 4 depicts a citizenship ceremony from the point of view of Aisha, a new citizen, and Harry, a registrar. It serves as a description of typical ceremonies in England, and raises a number of themes that are picked up in Chapter 5.
The chapter is concerned with the current common-sense politics around language, integration and citizenship that pervades most Western European countries, and where language is deemed a civil right that enables individual and social cohesion – jus linguarum (David Gramling’s term). Drawing on a raciolinguistic approach, the chapter argues that the disappearance of ‘national language’ as a constructed category allows for the disappearance of other categories, such as whiteness. Situating British language requirements in the colonial history of the rise of English as a ‘world language’, the chapter shows how a form of ‘provincialised English’ arises from the tensions between the inevitability of multilingualism in today’s global world, the status of English as a ‘world’ language, and the insistence of English as the ‘national’ language. The chapter then examines the effects of provincialising English and ongoing linguistic inequities as they are lived on the ground, and exposes how jus linguarum is normalised and naturalised through practices of verbal and audial hygiene. The chapter concludes with a discussion the effects of jus linguarum on the normalisation of white English monolingualism and on the ‘migratisation’ or ‘racialisation’ of those who speak otherwise.
Uncertainty is central to the governance of citizenship, but in ways that erase, even deny, this uncertainty. Uncertain citizenship investigates this uncertainty from the unique vantage point of ‘citizenisation’ – twenty-first-century integration and naturalisation measures that make and unmake citizens and migrants, while indefinitely holding many applicants for citizenship in what Anne-Marie Fortier calls the waiting room of citizenship. Fortier’s distinctive theory of citizenisation foregrounds how the full achievement of citizenship is a promise that is always deferred. This means that if migrants and citizens are continuously citizenised, so too are they migratised. Citizenisation and migratisation are intimately linked within the structures of racial governmentality that enables the citizenship of racially minoritised citizens to be questioned and that casts them as perpetual migrants. Drawing on multi-sited fieldwork with migrants applying for citizenship or settlement and with intermediaries of the state tasked with implementing citizenisation measures and policies, Fortier brings life to the waiting room of citizenship, giving rich empirical backing to her original theoretical claims. Scrutinising life in the waiting room enables Fortier to analyse how citizenship takes place, takes time and takes hold in ways that conform, exceed and confound frames of reference laid out in both citizenisation policies and taken-for-granted understandings of ‘the citizen’, ‘the migrant’, and their relationships to citizenship. Uncertain citizenship’s nuanced account of the social and institutional function of citizenisation and migratisation offers its readers a grasp of the array of racial inequalities that citizenisation produces and reproduces, while providing theoretical and empirical tools to address these inequalities.
Chapter 1 has two aims. First, to situate citizenisation policies within the broader European context where they have become ‘common sense’, and second to introduce theoretical underpinnings and heuristic devices supporting this book. The chapter argues that studying the ‘social life’ of citizenisation forces a reconsideration of the relationship between integration and naturalisation by asking a deceptively simple question: what is naturalised in citizenisation? The chapter then develops a conjunctural analysis of converging trends of neoliberal governance that retool citizenship through its skillification, securitisation and renewed domestication, and argues that citizenisation – and by extension migratisation – is a social intervention that reaches far beyond those that it targets – migrants – and reaches into the fabric of society as a whole. The chapter also introduces ‘the waiting room’ as a heuristic device that foregrounds three axes of citizenisation: temporality – how citizenship takes time; spatiality – how citizenship takes place; and affect/bodies – how citizenship takes hold. The device of the waiting room captures the interplay between, on the one hand, the structural and institutional conditions that bring people to the waiting room – as language teachers, registrars, ceremony officials or migrants – and on the other hand, how people inhabit these governing practices.
In the Catholic areas of Europe, the human remains (both their bones and the fabrics they touched) of persons considered to have been exceptional are usually stored for transformation into relics. The production and the reproduction of the object-relic takes place within monasteries and is carried out firstly on the material level. In this article I intend to present in detail, from an anthropological standpoint, the practices used to process such remains, the role of the social actors involved and the political-ecclesiastical dynamics connected with them. Owing to obvious difficulties in accessing enclosed communities, such practices are usually overlooked in historiographical and ethno-anthropological analyses, while they should instead be considered the most important moment in the lengthy process intended to give form and meaning to remains, with a view to their exhibition and use in ritual.