Deserving citizenship? Exploring migrants' experiences of the 'citizenship test' process in the United Kingdom
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Since the early 2000s several European countries have introduced language and citizenship tests as new requirements for access to long‐term residence or naturalization. The content of citizenship tests has been often presented as exclusionary in nature, in particular as it is based on the idea that access to citizenship has to be ‘deserved’. In this paper, we aim to explore the citizenship tests ‘from below’, through the focus on the experience of migrants who prepare and take the ‘Life in the UK’ test, and with particular reference to how they relate to the idea of ‘deservingness’. Through a set of in‐depth interviews with migrants in two different cities (Leicester and London), we show that many of them use narratives in which they distinguish between the ‘deserving citizens’ and the ‘undeserving Others’ when they reflect upon their experience of becoming citizens. In so doing, they negotiate new hierarchies of inclusion into and exclusion from citizenship, which reflect broader neo‐liberal and ethos‐based conceptions of citizenship.
Is part ofBritish Journal of Sociology, 2019, vol. 70, núm. 1, p. 24-43
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