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Citizenship studies

Politics and International Studies (POLIS) at The Open University has an international reputation in the transformative field of Citizenship Studies, a rapidly developing and influential area of social science. POLIS researchers have been at the cutting edge of this development for over a decade. These innovations include ‘acts of citizenship’, feminist citizenship, practical ecological citizenship, the formation of new political subjects and even problematising the idea of citizenship itself.

Researching citizenship involves critical questions of security and social cohesion, rights and duties, entitlements and obligations, justice and fairness, gender and ethnicity/race, inclusion and exclusion, human rights, protecting the vulnerable, migration, asylum and identity. We encourage applicants who can contribute to this new wave of critical citizenship studies as well as to the transnational and comparative analysis of emerging citizen subject positions (such as indigenous, feminist, postcolonial and ecological citizenship as manifested in local and global movements).

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent)

Potential research projects

We welcome enquiries about PhD study in this subject area.

Current/recent research projects

The ENACT consortium, funded by the EU under the FP7 research programme, brought together researchers from three member states of the EU (UK, Belgium and the Netherlands), two new member states (Hungary and Latvia) and a candidate state (Turkey) to explore in depth how European citizenship is claimed, disputed and built – in short, to explore how citizenship is enacted. POLIS was also recently home to a European Research Council Advanced Grant for the project Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism. The project focused on the interaction between two controversial and contested concepts: citizenship (the process by which belonging is recognised and enacted) and orientalism (the assertion of the superiority of western culture over its eastern counterparts).

Further information

If you have an enquiry specific to this research area please contact:

Postgraduate Coordinator
+44 (0)1908 653534/654435

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under 'Your Questions' on the right of the page.