Calling for the super citizen: contemporary naturalisation procedures in the United Kingdom and Germany

Badenhoop, Sophie Elisabeth (2018) Calling for the super citizen: contemporary naturalisation procedures in the United Kingdom and Germany. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.
Printed Thesis Information:


Naturalisation procedures through which states symbolically and legally recognise noncitizens as citizens offer the most secure legal status for migrants and a means for them to evade global inequalities in the world system of nation-states. This study critically examines contemporary citizenship admission procedures in the UK and Germany following the introduction of citizenship tests, courses and ceremonies in the early 2000s. Based on a multi-sited state ethnography of both countries, this thesis argues that naturalisation does not simply separate citizens by discretionary application from citizens by automatic right of birth. Rather, citizenship admission procedures suggest a specific subjectivity, the Super Citizen, insofar as ‘new’ German and British citizens are expected to become a political, economic and cultural asset to the state. This study thus conceptualises naturalisation processes as a specific subject-formation regime created through particular problematisations, rationalities, authorities and techniques as institutionalised by the state.

The analysis begins with a brief reconstruction of the genealogy of naturalisation in Britain and Germany, focussing on the emergence of the distinction between nationals and ‘aliens’ or ‘foreigners’, respectively, as well as on the legal mechanisms put in place to differentiate their access to full membership. Using a thematic analysis of qualitative interviews, observations and official documents, the study then tracks contemporary citizenship applications in four research locations in the two countries. It visits ceremony halls, classrooms and naturalisation offices and considers the perspective of a range of actors involved in citizenship admission procedures. This includes those who implement naturalisation on behalf of the state such as officials, legal advisers, teachers, politicians, and guest speakers, as well as the lived experience of the citizenship applicants themselves. The thesis concludes that naturalisation procedures in both the UK and in Germany produce the Super Citizen as a particular, neoliberal and neonational subjectivity that holds newly naturalized citizens responsible for developing a new nationalism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available once any embargo period has expired. An edited electronic version (3rd party copyright removed) will be uploaded post embargo.
Keywords: naturalisation, citizenship, migration, United Kingdom, Britain, Germany, multi-sited state ethnography, qualitative comparison, subject-formation, Super Citizen, citizenship courses, citizenship tests, citizenship ceremonies, neo-liberalism, neo-nationalism.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Funder's Name: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Supervisor's Name: Virdee, Professor Satnam and Robert, Dr. Gibb
Date of Award: 2018
Embargo Date: 28 May 2021
Depositing User: Ms Sophie Elisabeth Badenhoop
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-9133
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 May 2018 16:06
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2024 14:15

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