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Social citizenship and immigration: Employment, welfare and effortfulness in online discourse concerning migration to the UK.

Gibson, Stephen and Crossland, Matthew and Hamilton, Jason (2018) Social citizenship and immigration: Employment, welfare and effortfulness in online discourse concerning migration to the UK. Qualitative Psychology, 5 (1). pp. 99-116.

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Abstract

The emerging social psychology of citizenship has made use of qualitative methods to explore people’s understandings of issues such as polity membership and its associated rights and responsibilities. Whereas there is a burgeoning tradition of work on conceptions of polity membership, as well as on civil and political citizenship, relatively little work has thus far focussed on the concept of social citizenship – that aspect of citizenship which ensures that citizens have access to a basic income and standard of living. The present paper explores this in the context of debates over polity membership in relation to European Union (EU) immigration in the United Kingdom. Data collected from posts to an internet discussion forum are analysed using an approach informed by discursive and rhetorical psychologies. The findings indicate a range of arguments in relation to social citizenship that were used by posters to suggest that EU immigration would have a negative effect on the UK, and that such arguments frequently involved particular constructions of groups (e.g. ‘immigrants’, ‘Romanians’, ‘Eastern Europeans’) as likely to claim welfare benefits, or as low-skilled. However, pro-immigration arguments could equally involve outgroup derogation, but in these arguments posters constructed images of sub-groups of British citizens (e.g. ‘white working class Brits’) in order to suggest that immigration solved problems brought about due to the psychological deficiencies of these sub-groups. It is suggested that this constitutes a previously under-explored dimension of immigration discourse, and that renewed attention to social citizenship and welfare can bring these complexities into focus.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: 'This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.'
Status: Published
DOI: 10.1037/qup0000078
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
School/Department: School of Psychological & Social Sciences
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/1718

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