ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

The Stakes of Citizenship: In between dialogue, participation and mobilisation

Open Panel

Abstract

Citizenship discourse has been fraught with tensions and dilemmas leaving political theorists puzzled as to the task ahead. While citizenship presupposes, for example, solidarity and a common bond which holds the demos together, growing apprehension towards the nation, raises serious questions about the ways in which civic solidarity could be engendered, if at all, within contemporary plural societies. More than that, growing mistrust and disaffection with state institutions, with which citizenship is tied, pose further challenges to its centrality as the vehicle of democratic practice. Can we reconceive citizenship in a way which attends to these challenges, while still retaining the notion of the demos, necessary for practising democratic politics? To address this question the paper engages with the writings of Tully and Habermas who argue for a dialogical approach to citizenship practices. Taking their cues from different philosophical traditions, Tully and Habermas certainly differ in the way they conceive of dialogue and democratic deliberation. However, they do share in the emphasis they both place on deliberation, understanding citizenship as a participatory means; a way of having a say about the rules of the democratic game. This understanding of citizenship, argues the paper, leads both Tully and Habermas to bypass the challenges currently confronting citizenship discourse since they fail to explain what would exactly motivate this type of political participation. To address the challenges posed to citizenship discourse, and thus revise citizenship as a term, rather than political agency, the paper explores the idea of mobilisation as an alternative to dialogical participation.