Book Launch: Uncertain Citizenship by Anne-Marie Fortier

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Book Launch for Uncertain Citizenship: Life in the Waiting Room, by Anne-Marie Fortier

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Uncertainty is central to the governance of citizenship, but in ways that erase, even deny, this uncertainty. This book investigates uncertain citizenship from the unique vantage point of 'citizenisation': twenty-first-century integration and naturalisation measures that make and unmake citizens and migrants, while indefinitely holding many applicants for citizenship in what Anne-Marie Fortier calls the 'waiting room of citizenship'. Fortier's distinctive theory of citizenisation foregrounds how the full achievement of citizenship is a promise that is always deferred: if migrants and citizens are continuously citizenised, so too are they migratised. Citizenisation and migratisation are intimately linked within the structures of racial governmentality that enables the citizenship of racially minoritised citizens to be questioned and that casts them as perpetual migrants.

Drawing on multi-sited fieldwork with migrants applying for citizenship or settlement and with intermediaries of the state tasked with implementing citizenisation measures and policies, Fortier brings life to the waiting room of citizenship, giving rich empirical backing to her original theoretical claims. Uncertain Citizenship's nuanced account of the social and institutional function of citizenisation and migratisation offers its readers a grasp of the array of racial inequalities that citizenisation produces and reproduces, while providing theoretical and empirical tools to address these inequalities.

To discuss her exciting new book, Anne-Marie Fortier will be joined by a readers panel consisting of Professor Bridget Byrne, Professor Michaela Benson, Dr Kamran Khan, and Dr Gwyneth Lonergan. Each of the panelists will respond to a particular chapter of Uncertain Citizenship, followed by Professor Fortier's own thoughts on the readers' contributions. The launch will be chaired by Dr Giovanni Bettini and Dr Karolina Follis.


Anne-Marie Fortier is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University. Her work on citizenship and migration has been published in Citizenship Studies, Critical Social Policy, Sociology, and other leading journals. Her most recent book, Uncertain citizenship: life in the waiting room, is published with Manchester University Press.


Michaela Benson is a Professor of Public Sociology at Lancaster University. Known for her research on lifestyle migration, the middle classes, and Britain's relationship to its emigrants and overseas citizens (with a particular focus on Hong Kong) at moments of major political transformation including Brexit and decolonisation, she is the author of The British in Rural France (2011) and co-author of Lifestyle migration and colonial traces in Malaysia and Panama (2018) and The Middle Classes and the City (2015). From 2020-21 she held a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, and is currently Co-I of the ESRC-funded project Rebordering Britain and Britons after Brexit (MIGZEN). She has been the editor-in-chief of The Sociological Review since 2017.

Bridget Byrne is Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester, and the director of the ESRC Centre - CoDE (Centre on the Dynamics of Ethnicity and Inequality). She is the author of White lives: the interplay of 'race', class and gender in everyday life , which was joint winner of the BSA Philip Abrams Award 2006.; Making Citizens: public rituals and private journeys to citizenship (2014); and the co-author, with Carla De Tona of Mix: Race, Class and School Choice with Carla De Tona. She is currently researching the role of institutions in creating and mitigating ethnic inequalities in the cultural industries. She is a co-Editor of the journal Sociology.

Kamran Khan is currently a New Talent post-doctoral fellow at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. He is the author of ‘Becoming a Citizen: Linguistic Trials and Negotiations’ (Bloomsbury, 2019). He gained his PhD from the University of Birmingham and University of Melbourne. He has previously worked on an ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) project at the University of Leicester and has co-led a British Academy project around ‘Sociolinguistics and Security.’ He is currently researching the experiences of migrants in Catalonia taking the Spanish citizenship test.

Gwyneth Lonergan is currently a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in Social Science and Bioethics in the department of Sociology at Lancaster University. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Manchester, and previously worked on an ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) project, 'The Roles of Faith Based Organisations in Anti-Trafficking' at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests include citizenship, migration, and reproductive justice. Her current project involves researching migrant women's experiences of maternity care in the north of England. She convenes the Migrancy Research Collective at Lancaster University.


Giovanni Bettini is Lecturer at the Lancaster Environment Centre. He has engaged with the links between climate change and human mobility, as part of his broader research on how environmental change – in its planetary but uneven character, and entangled with a series of contemporary ‘crises’ and historical legacies – is generating new spaces, modes of governance, subjectivities and forms of resistance. Giovanni is a member of the Migrancy Research Collective and CeMoRe.

Karolina Follis is Senior Lecturer in Politics, PPR (Politics, Philosophy and Religion), Lancaster University. Dr. Follis is a political anthropologist working in the interdisciplinary field of critical border studies. Her work has focused on the contradictions of border regimes, human rights and citizenship. She is currently working on healthcare in the context of migration and mobility and is the PI of the Doctors within Borders project funded by the Wellcome Trust.

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