Becoming British: a migrant’s journey

Khan, Kamran (2013). Becoming British: a migrant’s journey. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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In 2002, the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act was passed which required migrants to demonstrate a ‘sufficient knowledge’ of English and ‘sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom’ in order to become British citizens. This thesis investigates some of the linguistic practices during the citizenship process of a Yemeni migrant named W.

This eleven month ethnographically-informed case study examines four forms of becoming. Firstly, becoming through the LUK (Life in the UK) test is analysed using Messick’s unified concept of validity. Secondly, Bakhtin’s ‘ideological becoming’ is used to capture the bilingual practices in engaging with the LUK test as well as offering an entry point to understanding notions of community and belonging. Thirdly, adult ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) is positioned as a ‘space of becoming’ (Baynham and Simpson 2010). W negotiates his way through the qualification framework and his sense of investment and identity is challenged. Finally, the citizenship ceremony as a moment of becoming is analysed through Foucault’s examination and Derrida’s shibboleth.

The LUK test and ceremony represent two very different trials for W. Community life and ESOL education are characterised as gradual forms of development.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > LC Special aspects of education


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