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Reinventing Citizenship

Part of the Research Program on: Protest, Justice and Deliberative Power

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Published on Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The International Network for Alternative Academia invites you to participate to the 7th International Symposium: Reinventing Citizenship, to be held on Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th of May, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This trans-disciplinary project seeks to identify central problems of the experience of being a citizen today and evaluate to what degree is citizenship a good vehicle for democratic agency in contemporary societies and democracies the world over.



This trans-disciplinary research project is interested in exploring the current relevance and value of citizenship in democracies across the world. We seek to identify central problems of the experience of being a citizen today and evaluate to what degree is citizenship a good vehicle for democratic agency in contemporary societies.

For almost half a century, political regimes across the world have struggled with citizen participation and the legitimacy problems this creates for the political process. As a result politics has increasingly been seen as a highly formal, specialized and separate domain from the everyday life and needs of citizens. Perhaps nowhere has the gulf that has formed become more evident than with regard to our understanding of the concept of citizenship itself. While boundaries between nations and the composition of resident populations have become increasingly more fluid and diverse, citizenship and the legal frames that sustain national politics have shown a shocking resilience to change, short capacity to increase inclusion and a rather rigid response to decades of massive migration and global change. Many now have dual or multiple citizenships and are connected to more than one body politic and legal framework. Simultaneously, the numbers of permanent residents of countries that refuse to grant them citizenship and formal access to politics continues to increase. How are old models of citizenship evolving? With what effects? Can these changes be initiated within existing political systems? Do social movements that advocate sidestepping states and formal politics altogether, movements that seek to generate their own forms of political representation and membership point the way towards the future of citizenship?

We invite colleagues from all disciplines and professions interested in exploring and explaining these issues in a collective, deliberative and dialogical environment to send presentation proposals (based on theoretical and/or empirical projects) which address these general questions or the following themes:

1. Visualizing: Rethinking Citizenship

  • Has the ideal of citizen lost its meaning in 21st century? Has it lost its relevance? Should we abandon the concept all together or take on the task of its re-conceptualization?
  • What are the routes we should take for reinventing a conception of citizenship that responds to the current transnational trends of world mobility and life?
  • Is it possible to unhinge citizenship from the nation-state? How would this be done in conceptual, political and practical terms?
  • Is there a way of thinking of citizenship devoid of loyalty to a nation or even multiple nations, but rather anchored in a different set of principles, responsibilities, obligations and cosmopolitan civic commitments?
  • Why does citizenship need national anchoring? Is it possible to move the link up to an international level and down to a local one, in order to re-shape both rights and responsibilities?
  • How can we conceive of a new definition of citizenship that is global, transnational, multiple and multifaceted? How can we move the definition of citizenship away from the notion and practices of exclusion and closer to that of inclusion?
  • Might the rethinking of citizenship entail abandoning the idea all together and seeking for a different form of political relationship?

2. Zooming In: What Is Lost? What Is Broken?

  • What accounts of citizenship are offered to us from across history? What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of their adoption in addressing 21st century social, cultural and political life?
  • What is the relationship between citizenship and allegiance, loyalty and trust? Should not democracy itself and democratic relationships be what defines allegiance, loyalty and trust? 
  • What is the current place of political accountability to citizens? Are political democratic systems accountable to citizens? Is accountability being strengthened by politics and democratic practice? How so and what are the links and processes of this relationship?
  • How can citizens expand their participation in decision-making processes? How can citizens ensure that democratic politics is exercised, not only their name but in their benefit? How can citizens regain their power over political systems?
  • How are the lines between citizen, worker, resident and consumer being redrawn?
  • Who is included and who is excluded from the ranks of citizen through the introduction of citizenship tests? What are these tests seeking to affirm?
  • How should we think of the relationship between citizenship and security? Is it legitimate to redefine citizenship based on ideas of security? How so and what are the limits? Are these limits justified by democratic rights and responsibilities?
  • Are we not giving up rights and responsibilities by accepting principles of national security? 

3. Second Take: Current Experiences of Alternative Citizenship

  • What is the relationship between residency and citizenship? Is there any way we can embody denizen ship with legal rights and a constitutional persona? Would this be a way of inserting new significance to citizenship?   
  • Can we conceive of local community political relationships that are good examples for new models citizenship? What lessons can we derive from these experiences and how can we use them for the renovation of the roots of citizenship?
  • How do these local experiences relate to established and legal definitions of citizenship? What might be there contributions to the formal and informal ways of rethinking citizenship?
  • What are the relative merits and demerits of dual and multi-national citizenship? Aside from facilitating travel and residency for global travelers and residents, are there additional considerations we can extend to single citizenship status?
  • What happens when allegiances conflict? Is there a prior citizenship right? How is it to be established, from an international legal perspective?
  • What happens with local, regional and transnational experiences that contest the nation state’s legitimacy and decide to side step them to exercise their conceptions of citizenship? Are their virtues in these practices? What lessons can we derive from them both for citizenship and democracy?
  • Are there new models and political relationships emerging from local, regional and international experiences that speak to new forms of democratic political life? Are these just revamping old ideas of democratic citizenship or creating new conceptions with their practices?

4. Artistic Scene: Aestheticizing Citizenship

  • In what ways is art being employed as a means for redefining and reconfiguring political identity at both the personal and societal level? How much do these aesthetic experiences seep into the fabric of social life?
  • How can we explore the productive effect of art on forms conceptions of citizenship?
  • How is art and art expression responding to the need to redefine citizenship? How might art serve as a model in the creation of new ways of experiencing politics, political participation and citizenship? 
  • How can we participate and foster processes of critical and creative aesthetic innovation for citizenship perception and political agency?
  • Can art insert playfulness and joy, pleasure and fun in conceptions of politics and the exercise of citizenship?
  • Can the aesthetization of protest and contestation contribute to a de-formalization of citizenship and bring about a more joyful exercise of political rights and duties? Is there other ways for regaining the joy in political participation?
  • How can citizenship and political participation be seen as a festival or a social festivity? Would this have an impact over political participation? Would this have an effect over how citizens relate to politics? Would this suggest new ways definitions of the exercise of rights and duties?

5. Stand Still: Normative Renewal and Building New Citizenship

  • What are the current conditions for the possibility of citizenship? How are these conditions being reconfigured by new technologies and globalization?
  • Can we even think of the possibilities of international citizenship? How so and what would it require? Is this a productive route to pursue for the renewal of citizenship?
  • What is the impact of international organizations on conceptions of national citizenship? How have basic ideas been reformulated? 
  • How are norms of citizenship being modified and changed within nations? How are international normative formulations being contested and challenged?
  • How is trans-nationalism challenging traditional conceptions of the rights of participation in political processes?
  • What is the future of passports, visas and citizenship cards?Should we continue to identify citizenship belonging in this way? How can/how will citizenship be identified?
  • How are normative frameworks of democratic citizenship holding up to contestation and challenge within national borders and from transnational social and political movements?

Submission guidelines

Abstract Submission Period Opened: Monday 14th of October, 2013

Abstract Deadline: Monday 14th of April, 2014

If you are interested in participating in this Annual Symposium, submit a 400 to 500 word abstract as soon as possible and no later than Monday 14th of April, 2014. (For justifiable cases, we do uphold a tolerance period of fifteen days.)

Please use the following template for your submission:

  • First: Author(s);
  • Second: Affiliation, if any;
  • Third: Email Address;
  • Fourth: Title of Abstract and Proposal;
  • Fifth: The 400 to 500 Word Abstract.

To submit an abstract online follow these steps:

1) Go to our webpage: www.alternative-academia.net

2) Select your Symposium of choice within the list of annual events (listed by period and city)

3) Go to LOG IN at the top of the page

4) Create a User Name and Password for our system and log in

5) Click on the Call for Papers for the Symposium

6) Go to the end of the Call for Papers page and click on the First Step of Submission Process button

7) Follow the instructions provided for completing the abstract submission process

For every abstract proposal submitted, we acknowledge receipt. If you do not receive a reply from us within three days, you should assume the submission process was not completed successfully. Please try again or contact our technical support for clarifications.

All presentation and paper proposals that address these questions and issues will be fully considered and evaluated. Evaluation of abstract submissions will be ongoing, from the opening date of Monday 14th of October, 2013. All Prospective Delegates can expect a reply time to their submission of three weeks.

Accepted abstracts will require a full draft paper by Monday 29th of April, 2014. Papers are for a 20 minute presentation, 8 to 10 pages long, double spaced, Times New Roman 12. All papers presented at the symposium are eligible for publication as part of a digital or paperback book.

We invite colleagues and people interested in participating to disseminate this call for papers. Thank you for sharing and cross-listing where and whenever appropriate.

Hope to meet you in Toronto!

Enquiries: acc@alternative-academia.net


The symposium will be held from Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th of May, 2014

Institutional Partner: Humber ITAL

Symposium Coordinators

  • Marina Kaneti, PhD Candidate, Politics. New School for Social Research, New York, New York. Email: kanem368@newschool.edu
  • Alejandro Cervantes-Carson, General Coordinator, International Network for Alternative Academia, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Email: acc@alternative-academia.net

Informational Note

Alternative Academia is an international network of intellectuals, academics, independent scholars and practitioners committed to creating spaces, both within and beyond traditional academe, for creative, trans-disciplinary and critical thinking on current debates and key themes. We offer annual and biannual symposiums at sites around the world, providing forums that foster the development of new frames of reference and innovative structures for the production and expansion of knowledge. Dialogue, discussion and deliberation define both the methods employed and the values upheld by this network.

Visit our website at: www.alternative-academia.net


  • Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, Building: Lakeshore Commons - 3199 Lake Shore Blvd. W. (Lakeshore Campus)
    Toronto, Canada (M8V 1K8)


  • Monday, April 14, 2014

Attached files


  • Citizenship, Democracy, Political systems, Social movements, Protest and contestation, Trans-disciplinary, Multidisciplinary, Interdisciplinary studies, Social Sciences, Sociology, Politics, Anthropology, History, Philosophy, Politics, Conflict resolution


  • Alejandro Cervantes-Carson
    courriel : acc [at] alternative-academia [dot] net

Information source

  • Alejandro Cervantes-Carson
    courriel : acc [at] alternative-academia [dot] net


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Reinventing Citizenship », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, December 31, 2013, https://doi.org/10.58079/p54

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