Spaces of citizenship

Eeva Luhtakallio, Maija Jokela and Georg Boldt

Austerity, migration, populism, radical tendencies and seemingly incessant armed conflicts around the world bring political dynamics into the center of everyday sociability in multiple ways. Meanwhile, worries about the vitality of western representative democracy has led to increasing interest in creating spaces for citizen participation: spaces intended to foster citizenship-skills, further the participation agenda and strengthen the legitimacy of public governance. However, spaces of citizenship are not limited to institutionally driven initiatives. Radical action, street demonstrations, populist movements and mobilization online, through networks that are maintained and expanded through the use of social media, create alternative citizenship spaces.

Global issues affect local agency and local actions can reach a global audience. Politics happen at coffee tables as well as in the media spotlight. Paradoxically, institutionally grounded fora for participation are rarely as influential in shaping public discourses, guiding public investments or representing diverse communities as more freely organized movements.

Examining the civil society through social movements, participation and nonparticipation, rhetoric and justifications in political argumentation, bring up the boundaries, liminality and inclusionary/exclusionary aspects of different spaces of citizenship. Subjective claims for space, structures of power and dynamics in fields of engagement help to understand contemporary changes in civic engagement.

We call for presentations of ethnographic accounts that discuss the roots, reasons and possibilities for politicization and lack thereof. The working group invites presentations that address empirical, methodological or theoretical questions relevant for spaces of citizenship.

Please submit a 500 word abstract or proposal by Tuesday 28th February 2017.