Unequal citizenship and subjecthood: a rose by any other name ...?
Keywords:subjecthood, citizenship, empire, immigration, nationality
British Citizenship is facing significant contemporary challenges in terms of failure to include ethnic minority citizens in an equal manner within the legal rights and protection of citizenship. Some examples of such failure are the hostile environment laws which have resulted in discrimination and deportation of citizens, new hurdles in becoming a citizen, and cancellation laws for conduct which have affected citizens with migrant connections more than those born British and holding only British nationality. This paper investigates why such legal inequalities persist by tracing modern-day manifestations to the progress of law in this area from the days of subjecthood and empire. It finds that, despite changes in the nature of state and governance since days of empire, contemporary British citizenship has inbuilt legal inequalities which persist from the time of subjecthood. Present inequalities are not just remnants of empire; they are constructed on the legal archaeology of empire.