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Life in the waiting room
Anne-Marie Fortier

We meet the people who are being citizenised, if that's a word. (Lucy, registrar who conducts citizenship ceremonies) In the wake of the March 2016 bombings in Brussels that killed 35 people (including three perpetrators), Flemish MEP Mark Demesmaeker championed the Flemish ‘Decree of Citizenisation’ ( Inburgeringsdecreet ; Foblets 2006 ) as a ‘real integration policy’, which Brussels lacks but ‘now realises

in Uncertain citizenship
Anne-Marie Fortier

This scene sets the stage for subsequent chapters. It includes two parts: first, it introduces the basic elements of the current British citizenisation process. Second, it details the fieldwork conducted for this study. The latter provides not only information about the type of material gathered and a general profile of participants, but the contextualisation of the fieldwork also adds more information to the citizenisation process itself, and the people and spaces that populate the waiting room of citizenship. British

in Uncertain citizenship
Life in the waiting room

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.

Citizenisation and migratisation
Anne-Marie Fortier

reproductive heterosexual family formation, romantic love, coupledom, ‘residence’, white English monolingualism, birthright, the state, the nation. This is also the story of traces, of what is left behind, discarded, erased, omitted, in transactional relations whereby outsiders are made into insiders, but also when insiders are made into outsiders – remember Charlotte's daughter Katie, or Paul's realisation that his mobility is now controlled. Citizenisation is part of the neoliberal retooling of state authority within a global capitalist market that favours

in Uncertain citizenship
Anne-Marie Fortier

reminds us, is now established and widely understood as the normal state of things (Bhattacharyya 2015 ). Uncertain citizenship approaches regimes of citizenship integration and naturalisation – what I call ‘citizenisation’ measures (more in Chapter 1 ) – as exemplary of the ways in which precarisation and uncertainty constitute instruments of neoliberal governing, rather than being threats to the social order that past welfare states would protect its citizens from (Lorey 2015 ; also Anderson 2013 ; Bhattacharyya 2015 ; Jessop 2019 ). In a world where

in Uncertain citizenship
Anne-Marie Fortier

saying ‘Congratulations’. It's deflated. (Ella, Greek-British) Citizenisation policies emphasise citizenship as something to become and reward the becoming citizen whose citizenship skills and attitudes are deemed fitting with the national community of value. Previous chapters show how ‘the becoming citizen’ is implicit in understandings of the ‘model citizen’ who not only must be law abiding, 1 but who must be ‘model’ in all

in Uncertain citizenship
Anne-Marie Fortier

I arrived early at the language school, and was warmly greeted by Alan, its founder and director. The school is one of many privately run schools established since early 2000, when ESOL became part of the citizenisation process. Private schools also proliferated as a result of government cuts on ESOL funding through the years. Alan was made redundant in the early 2000s from the further education college where he'd been teaching for several years. His school is accredited by the British Council and recognised by the UK Visas and Immigration

in Uncertain citizenship
Anne-Marie Fortier

seriously the ways in which the numerous ‘acts of citizenship’ required of citizenisation policies must be understood as enacted by both humans and material artefacts such as documents (Hughes and Forman 2017 ). This is not to say, however, that documents are unmediated objects that have inherent power – ‘thing power’ in Jane Bennett's phrase ( 2010 ). Nor is my objective to examine how the material environment itself is shaped and reshaped through what Karen Barad calls ‘intra-actions’ ( 2003 ). Rather, my aim is to consider documents as objects that animate actions

in Uncertain citizenship
Anne-Marie Fortier

Citizenisation processes are designed to redress the ‘citizenship deficit’ of migrants. However, an overlooked feature of theoretical and policy understandings of citizenisation is how they not only operate as a social intervention, as argued in the previous chapter. It is also how they shape definitions of the nation-state itself. This chapter turns to the history of British citizenship and to how the perceived ‘citizenship deficit’ of Britain has long since been the subject of political and scholarly discourse. Cast in this way, histories

in Uncertain citizenship
Anne-Marie Fortier

‘audibility’? How do seeing and hearing intersect? The focus is on language requirements in the British citizenisation process, but it speaks to a broader international trend. Language requirements for citizenship, citizenship-like statuses or entry visas are prevalent in Western Europe and elsewhere (Van Avermaet and Gysen 2009 ; Krzyzanowski and Wodak 2010 ; Pulinx and Van Avermaet 2015 ; Wodak and Savski 2018 ). So much so that, as David Gramling argues, language has become the basis of a new model of citizenship

in Uncertain citizenship