The UK citizenship process: political integration or marginalization?

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Sociology

Author

David Bartram

Publication date

Summary

The UK ‘citizenship process’ subjects immigrants to requirements ostensibly intended to enhance their identification with ‘British values’. Policy-makers suggest the policy will facilitate immigrants’ integration: as they learn about ‘life in the UK’, they will become better able to understand and navigate core institutions. Many external observers, by contrast, believe that the requirements exacerbate immigrants’ marginalization. I use panel data from ‘Understanding Society’ to investigate political participation among non-citizen immigrants at Wave 1, comparing those who became citizens by Wave 6 to those who remained non-citizens. Those who became citizens subsequently reported lower interest in politics, relative to those who remained non-citizens; in addition, they were not more likely to be active in organizations (e.g. political parties and trade unions). These findings reinforce the concerns of critics: the UK citizenship policy appears to do more to alienate new citizens than it does to facilitate their integration in the political sphere.

Volume and page numbers

53, 671-688

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038518813842

ISSN

16

Subjects

Politics, Social Exclusion, Social Inclusion, Migration, Public Policy, Ethnic Groups, Societies, Social Capital and Sociology

Notes

Open Access; This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).