“A privilege, not a right”: Contemporary debates on citizenship deprivation in Britain and France. Bobbie Mills



Citizenship withdrawal and expulsion of those posing a threat to national security has been a standard feature of liberal democracies throughout their historical development. The current revival of citizenship deprivation powers in numerous Western governments in the spirit of the so-called War on Terror is simply another chapter in that history. This paper, based on a dissertation entitled “Defining and Depriving Citizenship: Contemporary Practices of Citizenship Withdrawal in Britain and France” examines media and parliamentary debates in Britain and France to explore why and in what ways citizenship stripping has been retooled in this current juncture. It specifically asks why it is that Britain appears to have forged ahead in resurrecting these powers, with several new pieces of legislation and significantly increased number of deprivations, whilst all other countries, including France, have tended to tread more cautiously. The paper argues that while France proposed to revive deprivation as part of its naturalisation regime, Britain framed it as a complement to its deportation regime. The differing governing logics of these two immigration control regimes had divergent implications for citizenship deprivation and its ultimate legitimization.

To read the associated blog post, click here.


Citizenship, Britain, France, Governmentality, Deportation, Counter-terrorism


Bobbie Mills is based in London and continues to research and write on migration issues as Editor at Scenes of Reason. This paper is drawn from her MSc Migration Studies Dissertation entitled “Defining and Depriving Citizenship: Contemporary Practices of Citizenship Withdrawal in Britain and France.” Email: bobbiemills301@gmail.com


Download WP-2016-130-Mills-Privilege-Right (PDF)

If you do not have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader, which is required to read this document, you can download it free from the Adobe Website.