A Clash of Democracy and Inter/national Citizenship?: Revisiting the Core of Contemporary Citizenship (Studies)
Endorsed by the ECPR Standing Group on Citizenship
Citizenship has served as a contested arena for social, legal and political struggles for centuries. Yet, its association with nation states remains perhaps the most striking development in its history, given how shared senses of belonging, participation, rights and even democratic ideals have been refashioned by nationalist ideologies. The resulting examples of ‘national’ citizenships frame policies on socio-economic entitlements, security, electoral procedures, migration and even educational curricula across the globe. Considered together, these issues feed into highly antagonistic discourses on differentiation and exclusion, underscoring that national citizenships and by extension nation states are ‘here to stay’. It should thus not come as a surprise that recent attempts to ‘move on’ from ‘national’ citizenships – by drawing attention to the effects of globalisation processes and so advocating for the introduction of cosmopolitan or regional models of citizenship, for example – has been met by scepticism about their genuine pertinence. Nonetheless, it may be too immature to dismiss some of the pressure globalisation processes are exerting on ‘national’ citizenships today.
Perhaps most visible among these are the recent headlines depicting angry groups of young activists – prospective national citizens – concerned by the state of the environment and the lack of due attention paid to this issue by the (international) political elite, in somewhat similar but antithetic way to the populist anti-elitism. In the era of ‘fake news’ where the results of ‘democratically administered’ elections are often contested and even found to be questionable on legal grounds, it is the presence of heightened social media activism which leads to emotive and often internationally synced series of protests, as part of the better known #metoo movement, for example. Similar expressions of contempt are also noticeable against continued, nation state fused approaches linked to security and border control policies, which have been dismissive towards basic human rights in the context of the migration crisis or even longer-term regional integration vs independence policies, in the light of the violent protests in Hong Kong or the more peaceful but equally emotive mobilisation against the (populist) Brexit fiasco. While citizen activism is taking the centre stage of international politics, what they are, apparently, lacking is the democratic credentials ‘national’ citizenship models supposedly retain.
Against this backdrop, SG Citizenship is calling for panel and paper proposals interested in addressing one of the following key themes from a range of theoretical and empirical perspectives:
- Notions, practices and issues of (intern/national) citizenship, including its meaning and significance; as well as any revisions and/or recent advances which has strengthened, altered or potentially defied theoretical or policy expectations from identity (politics), entitlements, security, border controls, migration and educational structures, among others.
- Waves of citizen activism, including the focus of movements, as well as insights about the attitudes, struggles and dispositions of citizens and non-citizens and, more broadly, the role and place of civil society and social movements concerning notions and practices of democratic politics; and the involvement and responses of legal, political, educational and economic institutions.
- Questions of democratic (inter/national) citizenship credentials, including the settings and scope of citizenships, from possible ideological as well as socio-spatial divisions (between classes, generations, genders, cultures, etc., as well as non/globalized and non/democratic regions), with special considerations about the implications of heightened social media and fake news vis-à-vis declining trends of electoral participation.
- Citizenship/civics education, including a consideration of how state-led education is coping with the "old" inclination to instil nationalistic ideals against the new reality of global citizenship.
SG Citizenship is seeking at least 8 panel spaces at the Innsbruck event, with initial panel chairs and titles from our members include: