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The story of how British citizenship developed and why this matters for questions of race, migration and belonging in 'Global Britain'

Hosted and produced by Michaela Benson.

Cover Art: George Kalivis

Production and post-production: Art of Podcast 

Jun 24, 2022

Commonplace understandings of citizenship equate it with equality – at least among those holding the same citizenship. But looking the processes by which national citizenships develop shows that gaining equality for some was achieved at the expense of others, who might never be considered as equal. 

How might shifting scale to the global transform how we think about the development of British citizenship? Join us as we explore the relationship between the development of national citizenships and global social inequalities. Presenter Michaela Benson reflects on what is overlooked in the focus on the equalising potential of citizenship. George Kalivis dusts off reports relating to Margaret Thatcher’s visit to India in 1981, and how proposed changes in British nationality legislation were received there. And Michaela’s joined by Manuela Boatcă, Professor in Sociology and Head of the Global Studies Programme at the University of Freiburg to discuss how the formation of nation-states and the development of citizenship was caught up in the production of global social inequalities that persist in the present-day. And we discuss a range of examples that include investment citizenship, Brexit, the European Union and much, much more. 

You can access the full transcripts for each episode over on the Rebordering Britain and Britons after Brexit website


In this episode we cover … 

1 Citizenship and the production of global inequalities past and present

2 Gender, race and citizenship

3 Brexit and the European Union



What a Western passport does is it grants visa free access to the vast majority of countries in the world. Basically, it's a ticket to global social mobility. Now in turn, it is much more difficult for women for LGBTQ individuals and for racial minorities to escape. The limitations are of the citizenship that they receive at birth, especially when they're born in a poor country. Unlike these investors, they women and feminised others have no option or to get access to visa free travel

— Manuela Boatcă


Find out more

Find out more about Manuela on her website and on Twitter 

Read her paper Thinking Europe Otherwise and her work on the coloniality of citizenship with co-author Julia Roth

Rieko Karatani, Defining British Citizenship

Kathleen Paul, Whitewashing Britain

Gurminder Bhambra, Citizens and Others

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