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The path to naturalization in Spain: old ideologies, new language testing regimes and the problem of test use

Bruzos, Alberto orcid logoORCID: 0000-0002-3991-6986, Erdocia, Iker orcid logoORCID: 0000-0003-2459-1346 and Khan, Kamran orcid logoORCID: 0000-0002-2517-3018 (2017) The path to naturalization in Spain: old ideologies, new language testing regimes and the problem of test use. Language Policy, 17 (4). pp. 419-441. ISSN 1573-1863

Spain has followed the lead of other Western countries by establishing new citizenship requirements for immigrants. In 2015, the Real Decreto 1004/2015 was passed, making both knowledge of culture and history of Spain and knowledge of Spanish language a requisite for immigrants wishing to become citizens. In order to fulfill this legal requirement, immigrants need to take two exams: the Conocimientos Constitucionales y Socioculturales de España and the Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera (DELE), which are both administered by the Instituto Cervantes. This paper analyses some of the discourses that surrounded the introduction of the new testing regime. Given the complex socio political and historical context of Spain, establishing a requirement in Spanish for new citizens reinforces the subordination of other co-official languages such as Galician, Basque and Catalan. Beyond the ideological forces at play, we also highlight the monetization of compulsory tests and its benefits for test administrators. Furthermore, we bring attention to the fact that the DELE, a language test that was originally designed for other purposes and pre-dates the new citizenship legislation, is now being employed for high-stakes immigration, subverting the original purpose of the test. We highlight the problems this causes in terms of test effect, validity and ethics. Finally, we caution that greater reflection is required regarding the need for such tests, including more research on individuals experiencing the new naturalization process.
Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Immigration; Spain; Language policy; Citizenship; Naturalization; Testing;
Subjects:Humanities > Language
Humanities > Spanish language
Humanities > Culture
Social Sciences > Law
Social Sciences > Multiculturalism
Social Sciences > Migration
Social Sciences > Ethnicity
Social Sciences > Public administration
Social Sciences > Identity
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies
Official URL:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10993-017-9452-4
Copyright Information:© 2017 Springer
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:26397
Deposited On:27 Oct 2021 10:25 by Iker Erdocia Iniguez . Last Modified 27 Oct 2021 10:25

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