Call for papers: The promise of urban citizenship – Lessons for Europe

Citizenship is traditionally thought of as a legal tool for the nation-state to assign rights and duties to its citizenry. However, many social phenomena are gradually eroding traditional citizenship regimes: socio-economic globalisation, increased immigration and emerging supranational structures pull from the outside, while cultural pluralisation, demographic change and the crisis of the welfare state push from the inside. This leads to new citizenship challenges and a populace that increasingly questions the purpose and boundaries of national citizenship.

The upcoming issue of Open Citizenship will examine how we can conceive of a politically active, legally protected and socially embedded citizen beyond the nation-state, specifically in cities. Cities create a shared identity for their inhabitants, provide a clear place of action and are often sites of innovative citizen engagement and active citizenship. In this issue, we will shine a light on what is happening in cities in order to learn lessons applicable to European citizenship and point out emerging challenges and concerns.

Can urban citizenship and a local, residency-based organisation of rights and duties serve as an alternative to nation-state and supranational citizenship regimes? How can we appropriately define its scope in terms of civil, political and social rights and duties and how can we position it vis-à-vis national, supranational and even global scales?

Different types of contributions

As always, Open Citizenship allows different types of contributions and invites academics, practitioners, politicians and engaged citizens to express their distinct views and knowledge on the topic of urban citizenship. Possible ideas for submissions include:

• What is urban citizenship? How can it be conceived of in terms of civil, political and social rights and duties? And how is it positioned vis-à-vis national and European citizenship and human rights?

• Could a “resurgent urban citizenship” revive political agency and provide a new way to conceive of solutions to global challenges such as climate change, demographic change and a volatile global market)? Or is it a fantasy that overstates the power (and desirability) of parochial identities and relationships?

• What are important types or areas of citizen engagement in cities? How can they be understood and how do they affect government and governance in the city and how can they be a trigger for social change and democratic debate in the city?

• How does urban citizenship fit into a multilevel government framework? Is it an alternative, complementary to other citizenship regimes or should it be seen as a transitional phase during crisis and state re-organisation?

• How are non-citizens engaged in city politics and civil society? How can their engagement be facilitated, promoted and understood?

• What lessons can be drawn from urban citizenship that could be relevant to discussions at the EU level?

Submission guidelines

Submissions will be accepted until June 30th, 2013. Those interested in submitting an academic paper may also submit a 300-word abstract prior to the submission deadline for feedback on appropriateness for the journal. Notification of acceptance will be sent by mid-August. Please send your abstracts, submissions and questions to: submissions[at]

It’s Academic!: Academic essays that seek to explain or understand social and political challenges through the use of research findings (2,500–3,500 words).

Open Mic: Commentaries that make a single, provocative point related to the issue theme of the journal (1,000–2,000 words).

Movement Watch: Profiles of innovative civil society projects that serve to inspire others who want to take action (800–1,000 words).

Critics’ Corner: Reviews of books, essays, theatre pieces and films from a citizenship perspective (300–600 words).

Find more information here.


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