Calling for the Super Citizen: the genealogy and effects of naturalisation

Elisabeth Badenhoop


State expectations from migrants aspiring full membership status have increased since the expansion of citizenship tests, courses and ceremonies across several European countries during the 2000s. This study critically examines the implementation and lived experiences of contemporary naturalization procedures in Germany and the UK, addressing two related research questions: What kind of subjectivity do citizenship admission procedures suggest? How is this subjectivity created – through which problematisations, rationalities, authorities and techniques? This research aims to advance citizenship and migration studies as well as theories of power and individual agency. To this end, I develop the poststructuralist framework of subject-formation and conceptualize naturalization procedures as attempts at shaping a particular subjectivity which I term the “Super Citizen”. Applying the innovative methodology of a multi-sited state ethnography I explore how local officials enact, and how migrants receive, this particular regime of subject-formation in ceremony halls, classrooms and naturalisation offices drawing on a comprehensive dataset consisting of interviews, observations and documents collected while at the University of Glasgow.

This project has 3 outputs: First, an article (see the list of publications below). Second, a book manuscript entitled “Calling for the Super Citizen: Contemporary Naturalization Procedures in the United Kingdom and Germany” (targeted publisher and book series: Palgrave Macmillan Politics of Identity and Citizenship Series). Third, an international workshop at the MPI-MMG on 2-3 April 2020 and a Special Issue on “Citizenship matters: the history, governance, and lived experiences of naturalization in a global perspective” (targeted publication outlet: Citizenship Studies). 

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