Testing Times: The Place of the Citizenship Test in the UK Immigration Regime and New Citizens' Responses to it

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Citizenship tests are designed to ensure that new citizens have the knowledge required for successful ‘integration’. This article explores what those who have taken the test thought about its content. It argues that new citizens had high levels of awareness of debates about immigration and anti-immigration sentiment. Considering new citizens’ views of the test, the article shows how many of them are aware of the role of the test in reassuring existing citizens of their fitness to be citizens. However, some new citizens contest this positioning in ‘acts of citizenship’ where they assert claims to citizenship which are not necessarily those constructed by the state and implied in the tests. The article will argue that the tests and the nature of the knowledge required to pass them serve to retain new citizens in a position of less-than-equal citizenship which is at risk of being discursively (if less often legally) revoked.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-338
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Early online date2 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

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