Since the late colonial period, Myanmar has experienced heated debates over notions of belonging, including belonging as inscribed through citizenship status. The article traces the historical evolution of Myanmar’s postcolonial citizenship regime and how notions of belonging, foreignness, and nativity engendered one of the world’s most racialized citizenship regimes. A close examination of the citizenship regime highlights how citizenship and belonging for Myanmar’s ‘unofficial minorities’ are both contingent and ‘in process’, often a status left pending rather than denied or secured. This creates a ‘deferred citizenship’ which impacts not only individual applicants and their descendants but perpetuates Myanmar’s exclusionary and tiered citizenship system, ensuring that the ‘citizenship question’ is passed to the next generation.
The article is on the Taylor& Francis Online website.