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Conceptualizing Citizenship: a Meta-theoretical and Theoretical Exercise

Participation
Political theory
VIR29
Nawal Shaharyar
Tallinn University

Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00 (20/04/2022)

Thursday 09:00 - 17:00 (21/04/2022)

Friday 09:00 - 17:00 (22/04/2022)


Relational approach has become popular in many fields of social scientific research, but less so in citizenship studies. While it was introduced rather early by Margaret Somers (1994), the impact of relationalism on advancement of the field as a whole has remained rather limited (Isin & Turner, 2002). Though rising in popularity in recent years, the relational approach to citizenship has largely been envisioned within a processual relational paradigm embedded in the network approaches. The insights of these approaches have been manifold; from mapping contested discourses on citizenship and its impact on civic praxis (Koyama, 2017) to underscoring the technologies and strategies for active engagement (Boonstra 2015; Bohler & Giannoumis 2017). The relational actor-network orientation has granted insight into new types of activism and forms of citizenship (Yun, 2020). However, in an over-emphasis on actions, networks, strategies and technologies these approaches tend to reify processes and meta-theoretically neglect the role of relatively stable social structures and contexts. This workshop offers a newer way to conceptualize citizenship (and its study) in drawing from the meta-theoretical approaches of both substantive and relational thought. By exploring the assumptions behind the different meta-theoretical orientations, this workshop demonstrates how a relationalism based on field theories of Bourdieu pushes past reifications which prioritize either the ‘stable’ over the processual or vice-versa. The workshop invites participants to reflect on citizenship in this larger meta-theoretical context to envision, widen and explore the meanings and significance of practices of citizenship today (Nyers, 2007). The ambition of this workshop is that such an engagement will deepen the concepts of citizenship as a pluralistic, contested, contextual features of social reality –allowing a greater engagement with forms of citizenship enactments and activism beyond binaries between static structures and active processes, as well as beyond binaries of citizen/non-citizens in local, national, international and global contexts. Bibliography: Bohler, K. K., & Giannoumis, G. A. (2017). Technologies for active citizenship and the agency of objects. In Understanding the Lived Experiences of Persons with Disabilities in Nine Countries (pp. 192-207). Routledge. Boonstra, B. (2015). The art of creating consistency: planning strategies in an age of actice citizenship. In AESOP Annual Congress. Isin, E. F., & Turner, B. S. (Eds.). (2002). Handbook of citizenship studies. Sage. Koyama, J. (2017). Competing and Contested Discourses on Citizenship and Civic Praxis. Education policy analysis archives, 25(28), n28. Nyers, P. (2007). Introduction: Why Citizenship Studies, Citizenship Studies, 11:1, 1-4, DOI: 10.1080/13621020601099716. Somers, M. R. (1994). Rights, relationality, and membership: rethinking the making and meaning of citizenship. Law & Social Inquiry, 19(1), 63-112. Yun, J. Y. (2020). Feminist Net-Activism as a New Type of Actor-Network that Creates Feminist Citizenship. Asian Women, 36(4).

The workshop aims to be open to all scholars interested in conceptualizing citizenship regardless of career stage. The ambition of the workshop is to create a space to reflect on the meta-theoretical orientations that guide studies of citizenship and explore new avenues to envision and understand citizenship as a pluralistic, contested and contextual phenomena. In this context, the workshop would benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach where sociologists, geographers, political scientists and other scholars (working on citizenship forms, rights and activism) are expected to be significant contributors. The aim of the workshop is to reflect on the theoretical assumptions underlying different approaches towards citizenship (and its studies) the expected contributions are likely to be theoretical discussions rather than empirical instances –though the context in which the theory emerges can understandably be theoretical. Moreover, since the workshop seeks to advance a new vocabulary and forms to envision citizenship based on the field relational approaches, contributions from various theoretical streams within relationalism will be beneficial. In drawing from a wide range of theorists (as well as relational scholarship) the workshop will be able to locate the meta-theoretical assumptions, strengths, limits and challenges of envisioning citizenship (and its studies) from a field theoretical relational perspective.

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