‘Heads I Win. Tails you Lose.’ Migration and the Worker Citizen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines how differences between ‘migrants’ and citizens are forged and sustained in law and social practice with reference to welfare benefits. It explores how citizenship is made and what this reveals about citizenship as a legal status through considering firstly naturalization, i.e. the laws and policies that govern how foreigners become citizens, and secondly immigration and enforcement practices, the flipside of naturalization in the ways they literally make the difference between migrants and citizens. The article argues that enforcement promotes an equation between legal citizenship and full inclusion. Yet citizenship is being evacuated of much of its social content and there are multiple exclusions within formal citizenship. Attention to the position of naturalizing migrants and welfare benefit claimants indicates the rise of the worker citizen. The article concludes by suggesting that, as well as a free standing subject of study, migration can be a lens through which to study societies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbercuv012
Pages (from-to)179–196
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Legal Problems
Issue number1
Early online date28 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


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