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Citizenship without Community

Monday, 10 May 2010 (All day)

British Library Conference Centre, Euston Road, London


This international, interdisciplinary workshop asks in what ways do recent attempts at rethinking citizenship, mobility and community reframe what it means to act politically? Post-national citizenship, mobile citizenship, citizenship in international relations, transnational enactment of citizenship, citizenship in cities all challenge the assumption that state-like communities are the privileged sites of political practice.

This workshop - organised by the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance, Open University, the Enacting European Citizenship (ENACT) FP7 project, and the BISA Poststructural Politics Working Group - seeks to unpack what it means to act politically by examining the relationship between citizenship, mobility and community in global politics. Specifically, it will seek to bring together recent works on ‘acts’ of citizenship (Isin and Nielsen, 2008) and on ‘citizenship without community’ (Balibar, 2004), and to explore how mobility reframes what it means to act politically. The workshop will focus on a range of sites through which citizenship is enacted ‘anew’, and will consider the implications of such enactments for our understanding of political community.

By exploring critically the intersections of citizenship, mobility and community, the workshop aims to challenge the limits of contemporary debates surrounding citizenship and community, such as those which focus on the necessity of communal values (albeit with qualified acceptance of plurality within unity), or on expanding or deepening citizens’ rights. It aims to go beyond such debates and to consider how contemporary analyses of citizenship ‘acts’ and mobility relate to critical re-theorisations of community. In which ways does an emphasis on exchange, encounters, coexistence, or thrown-togetherness suggest different imaginings of politics and community? How does this emphasis relate to political readings of mobility and of ‘acts’ of citizenship that disrupt the territorial, national and communal fixations implicit in many conventional accounts of citizenship? How might we go about imagining and practising community without communion and to what extent does this entail a different form of citizenship in the making? What role do practices and conceptions of mobility play in this process? What different sites are key to the remaking of citizenship today and how do they challenge notions of political community that assume territoriality, stasis and commonality?