Katie Tonkiss

National Self, Post-National Other: An Exploration of Migration, Identity and Loyalty at the Local Level


Supervisors: Luis Cabrera (POLSIS), Christopher Finlay (POLSIS), John Raine

My thesis seeks to explore the dynamics of the relationship between mass migration and national identity, specifically against a backdrop of individual free movement. Individual free movement brings about a split between territorial identity and citizenship; however few theorists of trans-state citizenship and democracy have fully considered the implications of this in terms of tensions around identity and culture.

Through theoretical and empirical research, I will consider the potential for nationalist resurgence within trans-state communities that develop open borders migration policies. The thesis focuses on theories of trans-state democracy, and in particular constitutional patriotism, where rights to free movement for individuals are not widely acknowledged. I will explore the implications of acknowledging this right in terms of the potential for nationalist resurgence. The empirical research will focus on English national identity, and will consider discourses on national identity and migration in English communities that have seen large-scale new migration from the European Union since enlargement in 2004.


I came to Birmingham in 2006 to undertake an MA in Political Science.  While studying part time, I worked as a researcher for the Cabinet and controlling political party of Warwickshire County Council. In 2008, I began my PhD studies full time, after securing an ESRC +3 award.


  • BSc Politics and Public Policy & Management (Aston)
  • MA Political Science (Birmingham)

Research interests

  • Theories of trans-state citizenship and democracy
  • Migration, identity and culture
  • European Union citizenship

Professional memberships

  • Political Studies Association (PSA)
  • Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN)
  • International Studies Association (ISA)

Teaching responsibilities

  • POLS101 Foundations of Politics (first year undergraduate module)
  • POLS212 Modern Political Ideologies (second year undergraduate module)

Conference papers

Tonkiss, K. (2011) ‘The Right to Free Movement: Nationalism as an Obstacle to Equal Opportunity’, paper to be presented at the Political Studies Association Annual Conference, April 19th-21st, London.

Tonkiss, K. and Bloom, T. (2011) ‘European Union and Commonwealth Free Movement: An Historical-Comparative Perspective’, paper to be presented at the British International Studies Association Annual Conference, April 27th-29th, Manchester.

Tonkiss, K. (2010) 'Constitutional Patriotism and the Challenge of Free Movement', paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, New Orleans, 17th - 20th February.

Tonkiss, K. (2010) 'Separating Citizenship and Identity: Nationalist Resurgence and European Migration in England', presented at the PSA British and Comparative Territorial Politics Specialist Group Conference, Oxford, UK, 7th-8th January.


Email: KET621@bham.ac.uk