Migration and citizenship studies tend to see naturalization as a highly ambivalent process which simultaneously includes and excludes migrants. Moving beyond this inclusion/exclusion divide, I conceptualize naturalization as a subject-formation regime that encourages naturalized citizens to transform themselves into political, economic and cultural assets to the nation-state, a subjectivity which I term (alluding to its overstraining character) the ‘Super Citizen’. How, then, is the call for the Super Citizen received and answered? Based on a thematic analysis of interviews with migrants applying for citizenship in either Germany or the United Kingdom, this article examines migrants’ experiences of naturalization and identifies three types of response to the Super Citizen call: embrace, contestation, and disaffection. I argue that subject-formation is powerful, but not as deterministic as the literature suggests. The Super Citizen produces a competition for state recognition and new hierarchies among naturalized, national-born, and non-national citizens.
Elisabeth Badenhoop, Responding to the call for the Super Citizen: migrants’ ambivalent experiences of naturalization in Germany and the United Kingdom, Citizenship Studies, 2021.
This article forms part of the special issue Citizenship Matters: Assessing the History, Regulation and Lived Experiences of Naturalization from the Global Perspective edited by Elisabeth Badenhoop.