Postdoctoral Fellow: Peter Rees

Peter ReesResearch topic: Citizenship as Method
Research pathway:
Politics and International Relations
Host institution:
Aberystwyth University

My doctoral research examined the paradoxical relationship between universal rights and citizenship by proposing a new framework for analysis: citizenship as method. This research adopted a problem-oriented approach by analysing forms of rightlessness experienced by irregular migrants arising out of their often insecure legal and political status.

Citizenship as method addresses the problem of rightlessness by rethinking citizenship. Drawing upon a range of illustrative examples of struggles over citizenship by irregular migrants, I argued that because citizenship makes rights possible and these same rights call it into question then: a) there can be no rigid opposition between universal rights and citizenship; b) citizenship is structured by a constitutive aporia; c) this aporia can be mobilised by a political practice of rights-claiming through which citizenship can be contested and potentially transformed.

My Fellowship consolidates and extends this research through three primary activities. My first aim is to develop a strong publication track record so that my doctoral research can have maximum impact upon my field. Second, I will hold a series of stakeholder workshops with organisations such as The World Transformed, Labour Campaign for Free Movement and the UK Sanctuary movement. Through processes of knowledge co-production, I will disseminate my research findings in order to help develop new policy and design ready-to-go political education workshop plans on the topic of migrant rights. Finally, I will undertake preliminary fieldwork in the United Sates, which will form the basis of funding applications on a new research project on the Abolish ICE movement. This will allow me to extend and further develop the framework of citizenship as method through the application of new methodologies, while also proposing a way through the current impasse in contemporary debates over migration.