Citizenship and Immigration in Postwar Britain: The Institutional Origins of a Multicultural Nation

Paperback | July 6, 2000

byRandall Hansen

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In this ground-breaking book, the author draws extensively on archival material and theortical advances in the social sciences literature on citizenship and migration. Citizenship and Immigration in Postwar Britain examines the transformation since 1945 of the UK from a homogeneous into amulticultural society. Rejecting a dominant strain of sociological and historical inquiry emphasising state racism, Hansen argues that politicians and civil servants were overall liberal relative to a public, to which it owed its office, and pursued policies that were rational for any liberaldemocratic politician. He explains the trajectory of British migration and nationality policy - its exceptional liberality until the 1950s, its exceptional restrictiveness after then, and its tortured and seemingly racist definition of citizenship. The combined effect of a 1948 imperial definitionof citizenship (adopted independently of immigration) and a primary commitment to migration from the Old Dominions, locked British politicians into a series of policy choices resulting in a migration and nationality regime that was not racist in intention, but was racist in effect. In the context ofa liberal elite and an illiberal public, Britain's current restrictive migration policies result not from the faling of its policy-makers but those of its institutions.

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In this ground-breaking book, the author draws extensively on archival material and theortical advances in the social sciences literature on citizenship and migration. Citizenship and Immigration in Postwar Britain examines the transformation since 1945 of the UK from a homogeneous into amulticultural society. Rejecting a dominant stra...

Randall Hansen is at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London.

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Format:PaperbackPublished:July 6, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019924054X

ISBN - 13:9780199240548

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`This important and well-argued book provides the best-documented account so far of the evolution of British immigration and citizenship policy since the Second World War... effective use of Colonial and Cabinet Office records... a particularly good explanation of the political administrativedebate within the government... Hansen is reluctant to accept simplistic and reductionist accounts of the embarrassingly weak response of liberal politicians to the introduction of restrictionist immigration controls.'Richard Thurlow, TLS