Citizenship in Times of Turmoil?
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Citizenship in Times of Turmoil?

Theory, Practice and Policy

Edited by Devyani Prabhat

This innovative book considers the evolution of the contemporary issues surrounding British citizenship, integrating the social aspects and ideas of identity and belonging alongside the legal elements. With contributions from renowned lawyers and academics, it challenges the view that there are immutable values and enduring rights associated with citizenship status.
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Chapter 5: Citizenship, semi-citizenship and the hostile environment: the performativity of bordering practices

Christopher Bertram


This chapter argues that internal bordering practices such as the UK’s ‘hostile environment’ have the effect of undermining the equal status both of citizens and more generally of those subject to the law on the territory to instead produce a proliferation and differentiation of statuses running from full citizen through various forms of semi-citizenship to subordinate outsider. The chapter draws upon speech-act theory and Jeremy Waldron’s analysis of hate speech to argue that such internal bordering practices can be understood as acts of communication that subordinate and exclude some people whilst assuring others, typically in the majority ethnic core of the population, both of their superior position and of the centrality of an ethnic understanding of national identity. Such bordering practices can be seen as being in themselves a form of hate speech. The chapter will enumerate and draw upon many of the specific details of UK policy.

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