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

Gray, Debra; Griffin, Christine


Debra Gray

Christine Griffin


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. © 2013 The British Psychological Society.


Gray, D., & Griffin, C. (2014). A journey to citizenship: Constructions of citizenship and identity in the British Citizenship Test. British Journal of Social Psychology, 53(2), 299-314.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Journal British Journal of Social Psychology
Print ISSN 0144-6665
Electronic ISSN 2044-8309
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 53
Issue 2
Pages 299-314
Keywords citizenship, identity, national identity, Britishness, citizenship testing, British citizenship test, political discourse, new labour
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Additional Information Additional Information : Availalbe online 27 June 2013.


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