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The paths to citizenship: a critical examination of immigration policy in Britain since 2001

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McGhee explores the Labour government's attempts to manage the challenges and protect against the 'risks' associated with a particular group of migrants to Britain: permanent immigrants. He examines how Gordon Brown conceives of his three-stage proposals for 'earned' British citizenship working with the wider managed migration strategy introduced by Tony Blair and Charles Clarke. At the same time, McGhee contextualizes the earned British citizenship proposals within the recent immigration policies and citizenship/integration strategies introduced by David Blunkett when Home Secretary. If the episodes of social disorder involving the second generation of settled immigrant communities in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford in the summer of 2001 were the events that triggered Blunkett's new integration/citizenship strategies, including the introduction of English classes and citizenship lessons for would-be citizens, then the 7/7 attacks by so-called 'home-grown' extremists were the events that influenced the emergence of what will be described here as the institutional racialization associated with Brown's recommendations. McGhee also explores the shift from Blunkett's model of civic assimilation, with its Cantle-esque emphasis on participation, to the Brown model of civic nationalism, with its post-7/7-fuelled emphasis on loyalty, shared values and responsibilities.
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Keywords: biopower; citizenship; earned British citizenship; immigration; institutional racialization; institutional racism; managed migration; racism; shared values

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-02-01

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