Dr Leda Blackwood is a social psychologist at the University of St Andrews whose research addresses intergroup relations and group processes of social influence. She has conducted research addressing a range of social phenomenon including citizenship and political participation; leadership and collective empowerment; and the experience and consequences of prejudice, misrecognition and social exclusion. Dr Blackwood has completed a Scottish Institute of Policing Research project examining minority group experiences of interacting with police and other authorities. She currently holds a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship to conduct research on community engagement in the political process and how this is shaped by government practices.
Since 9/11 British Muslims have faced considerable scrutiny in the media and from government agencies. This study is a part of a larger research program examining how British Muslims understand their relationship with the UK government and with their representatives.
The British Citizenship Test was introduced in 2005 as one of a raft of new initiatives
designed to address the perceived problems of integration and social cohesion in Britain. The new citizenship procedures suggest a controversial shift in
British political discourse about citizenship – particularly, the institutionalization of a
common British citizen identity that is intended to draw citizens together in a new form of political/national community (see Gray & Griffin, 2014, below).
I am currently conducting research with a community organization which supports people in preparing for the British Citizenship Test by providing English language and Life in the United Kingdom training. This research examines people’s own understandings of citizenship and what it means to be British. Research findings will be posted on this site so stay in touch.
In the coming months I and Debra Gray want to extend this study to other organisations involved in ‘citizenship preparation’. If you or your organization are interested, please get in touch.
There has been very little research on the British Citizenship Test. One paper you might find of interest is:
Gray, D., & Griffin, C. (2014). A journey to citizenship: Constructions of citizenship and identity in the British Citizenship Test. British Journal of Social Psychology, 53(2), 299-314. doi: 10.1111/bjso.12042
A team of researchers from the University of Bristol have conducted a large-scale national project on modes and practices of state-Muslim engagement from 1997 onwards, in the areas of equalities, faith-sector governance and counter-terrorism. For more information on this project you can go to http://www.bristol.ac.uk/ethnicity/projects/muslimparticipation/