Postnational citizenship without postnational identity? A case study of UK immigration policy and intra-EU migration

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A key dividing line in the literature on post-national citizenship concerns the role of collective identity. While some hold that a post-national form of identity is desirable in developing citizenship in contexts such as the European Union (EU), others question the defensibility of a collective identity at this supra-national level. The aim of this article is to intervene in this debate, drawing on qualitative research to consider the extent to which post-national citizenship should be accompanied by a form of post-national identity. The article takes the UK as a case study, and explores tensions between the immigration policies and rhetoric of the Coalition Government since 2010 and the post-national citizenship rights of EU citizens migrating into British local communities. It draws on independently collected qualitative data from the county of Herefordshire, UK, to argue that the persistent reinforcement of national identity reproduces national lines of difference which further problematise the full realisation of European citizenship. At a theoretical level, this highlights the need for the development of post-national citizenship rights to be accompanied by a paradigmatic shift in the way that collective identity is constituted in post-national contexts.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-48
JournalJournal of Global Ethics
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • citizenship, European integration, migration, nationalism, post-nationalism, UK