SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

The Rise of the Worker Citizen

Prof Bridget Anderson (COMPAS)

Date: 28 January 2015Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 28 January 2015Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G52

Type of Event: Seminar

For all the interest in the impact of immigration on ‘host societies’, there is far less work on the impact of immigration controls. Immigration laws and the panoply of enforcement measures that attend them – visas, detention, deportation etc. are generally imagined as protecting citizens. They are directed at migrants and their individually negative consequences are assumed to bypass citizens. In this paper I will argue for the importance of examining immigration controls as constitutive of citizenship as much as they constitute non-citizenship, and suggest that this can help us demythologize formal citizenship and move beyond an approach that takes migrants and marginalised citizens as competitors for privileges of membership. I begin by examining how immigration law and its implementation create migrants but also help to produce differentiated citizenship. The myth of ‘full citizenship’ is commonly deployed with reference to low waged labour markets, and I then examine the rise of the worker citizen and its implications for citizens who claim welfare benefits. I argue that the moral worth of labour is a feature of debates on both migration and welfare benefits and can be used to divide migrants and citizens in low waged labour markets. I then consider the EU citizen as the paradigm of the worker citizen, and the contradictions that emerge in attempts to control their mobility through welfare state restrictions. I end by emphasising the importance of an analysis that does not assume the differentiation between migrants and citizens.

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Prof Bridget Anderson The Rise of the Worker Citizen


About the Speaker

Bridget Anderson is Professor of Migration and Citizenship at the University of Oxford, and Research Director of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS). Her interests include citizenship, nationalism, immigration enforcement (including ‘trafficking’), and low waged labour, migration and the state. Her most recent authored book is Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Controls (OUP, 2013). Care and Migrant Labour: Theory, Policy and Politics, co-edited with Isabel Shutes, was published by Palgrave in May 2014. Although now an academic Bridget started her working life in the voluntary sector working with migrant domestic workers, and she has retained an interest in domestic labour and migration. She has worked closely with migrants' organisations, trades unions and legal practitioners at local, national and international level.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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