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ECPR Journals Virtual Special Issue

“The People Want” Active Citizenship: New Ideals, New Practices and New Settings?

Social Movements
Political Sociology
Political Activism
Section Number
Section Chair
Tuuli-Marja Kleiner
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies
Section Co-Chair
Nora Siklodi
Norwegian University of Science & Technology, Trondheim

The political, social and economic hardships inflicted by the intertwining of neoliberal modalities and different forms of non/democracy, have garnered new impetus to the ideals, practices and settings of active citizenship. Apparent through the apprehensive responses to the 2008 economic meltdown, heightened during the Arab Spring and bolstered in the midst of the (more recent) migration crisis, the facets of active citizenship have begun to really penetrate the actions of institutionalized political actors across the world. Through novel causes, forms and levels of intensity – all of which may, at first, seem unrelated to spatial settings (i.e. cities, states or regions) –, active citizenship is clearly shaping the everyday lives, actions and attitudes of millions of people to an extent that has, perhaps, never been done so hitherto. While divisions linked to class, cultural, and generational cleavages may assist in explaining some of these developments, important questions remain about their long-term implications for democracy, globalization and policy-making more generally. We are also searching for answers about whether, why and how have recent developments begun to modify individual and collective levels of attitudes and practices. For example, how have previously dominant identity categories in inter- and in an intra-community manner – e.g. the ‘us’ and ‘them’ dichotomy that has been based on citizenship and civic characteristics as well as on dividing ethnic ones – been affected? Whether and how can and have educational systems help addressing current challenges to democracy and existing political and social structures? In order to really answer these questions, our understanding and research of active citizenship needs to be revisited and, preferably, taken beyond the paradigmatic frameworks of citizenship studies, New Social Movements, civil societies and (radical) democracy. While such frameworks seemed adequate for when and where the discourse of the rights-bearing citizen was taking hold in our societies, the proximity and affinity between the aforementioned examples clearly calls for a closer look and essential revision of some of our theoretical approaches and empirical predispositions.

Panel List

Code Title Details
P007Active Citizen(s), ‘Good’ Citizen(s) View Panel Details
P008Active Citizenship as a Context and a Challenge for Citizenship Education Practices Inside and Outside Schools View Panel Details
P009Active Citizenship Through (Non)Citizen Participation View Panel Details
P057Citizens’ Engagement – Enabler or a Nuisance? Values and Institutions of Local Representation and Participation View Panel Details
P141EU Citizenship Under Stress: Belonging, Affectedness and Participation During Brexit View Panel Details
P330Political Awareness and Active Citizenship View Panel Details
P480The Right to Move. Perspectives on Transnational Citizenship in the EU View Panel Details
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