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Wray, Helena (2008) A stranger in the home: Immigration to the UK through marriage from 1962. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is concerned with the British state's response to marriage immigration after 1962. Admission of foreign spouses places strangers at the symbolic heart of national life and their claims have often been denied. Meanwhile. British residents who enable such claims may be regarded as having thereby partially excluded themselves from national life. This has been particularly so for women for whom marriage is often considered a statement of public allegiance as well as a private act. The thesis establishes this argument through analysis of decision-making by the legislature, the judiciary and the entry clearance service. It argues that all decisionmakers exercise discretionary powers and will usually do so in accordance with their sense of their institutional function infonned by their understanding of the nature of the world. Where this understanding is shared across institutions, congruity in patterns of decision-making may emerge. This is argued to be largely the case for the period from 1962 to 1997. The thesis argues that, since 1997, perceptions of the threat posed by marriage immigration have become more complex and less uniform. Skin colour, gender and formal married status have become less significant. Obedience to state-erected hurdles, cultural conformity and social class have become more prominent although tempered by other competing priorities, particularly human rights values which the courts have recently begun to assert more vigorously. The conclusion places these arguments within the context of the continued desire of nation states to prevent unwanted immigration despite global movement and porous borders. Many British residents are now part of international diasporas or are themselves recent immigrants. It is even more difficult to use immigration control to reinforce the role of marriage and family in maintaining an idealised conception of national life even if recent indications are that efforts to do so will continue.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:16

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