A journey to citizenship: constructions of citizenship and identity in the British Citizenship Test

Debra Gray, Christine Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The British Citizenship Test was introduced in 2005 as one of a raft of new procedures aimed at addressing the perceived problems of integration and social cohesion in migrant communities. In this study, we argue that this new citizenship procedure signals a shift in British political discourse about citizenship - particularly, the institutionalization of a common British citizen identity that is intended to draw citizens together in a new form of political/national community. In line with this, we examine the British Citizenship Test from a social psychological perspective to interrogate the ways in which the test constitutes identity, constitutes citizenship, and constitutes citizenship-as-identity. Analysis of the test and its associated documents highlights three ways in which Britishness-as-identity is constituted, that is, as a collective identity, as a superordinate and national identity, and finally as both a destination and a journey. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for models of citizenship and models of identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-314
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Volume53
Issue number2
Early online date27 Jun 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

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