The Citizen in the 21st Century - Conference

1st Global Conference: The Citizen in the 21st Century

From : Dr. Rob Fisher/ Inter-Disciplinary.Net

Monday 4th February – Wednesday 6th February 2013

Sydney, Australia

Call for Presentations:

In its most basic conceptualisation, citizenship is thought of as the rights and responsibilities that an individual has, and is owed to, a national government. The political concept of ‘citizenship’, however, is one that has been contested from its very beginning: from above, it has been a mechanism of control and surveillance; while from below, it is has been used as a tool for resistance and claims for rights and representation.
In the 21st century, citizenship continues to be a site of contestation as contemporary governments attempt to find a balance between the rights and responsibilities of the populations they are representing. This has been complicated by the changing nature of citizenship: it can no longer be thought of as a linear and vertical relationship between an individual and a civic agency, but one of horizontal relationship that is a function of not only the way one relates to civic institutions, but the relationships of those around them.

This, in part, is a result of a changing governance system as corporations, private service providers, non government organizations, religious bodies, informal networks (such as the environmental movement) and supra national bodies increasingly compete with national governments for influence over the lives of individuals. This is further combined and complicated with changing migration patterns – both within and across borders, as well as dual citizenship, new technologies that impact all aspects of our lives, changing markers of adulthood, success and loyalty, as well as the rise of temporary and precarious workforces. We also need to consider a changing media landscape, the rise of a neoliberal capitalism that holds no national loyalty and the failure of a number of contemporary states to serve the interests of their citizens.

As a consequence we have seen the emergence of what has been described as ‘the heterogeneous citizen’ (Arvanitakis 2009): that is, any possibility of describing a citizenry in a homogenous fashion, if it ever was possible, has now been wiped away. Further, citizenship now must not only be understood from a political perspective, but there are also cultural, social, environmental and economic dimensions.

The aim of this conference is to understand the emergence of the complex, diverse and heterogenous citizen within the contemporary world. This is a citizen who is increasingly asked to carry the risks as an individual as solidarity institutions and the welfare state have receded from the public sphere and frequently lost credibility. A generation of theorists have attempted to understand this flues environment, from TH Marshall’s discussion of citizenship and class, to Ulrich Beck’s risk society, and Engin Isin’s neurotic citizen, each is wrestling with the many changes which have only briefly been touched on here. As such, our starting point is that citizenship studies must take an interdisciplinary perspective, both crossing and combining the political, sociological, cultural, economic and community development academic disciplines to better gauge the developments of the contemporary citizen.

Presentations, papers, performances and artworks are called for, but not limited to, the following topics:

What constitutes the 21st Century Citizen?
What negotiations does it undergo in relation to corporations, private service providers, non government organisations, religious bodies, informal networks (such as the environmental movement) and supra national bodies?
What is its relationship to new media and technologies with their changing markers of adulthood, success and loyalty?
How the citizen of the 21st Century maintain any sense of control over their life or a sense of agency to influence the world around them.
How does the citizen of the 21st century understand the various systems and bureaucracies that influence their lives?
How have democratic deficits and surpluses been transferred to the surpluses and deficits of citizenship?
How does the citizen of the 21st century maintain a sense of agency, if any?
In this way, we need to look beyond the legal and political dimensions and also understand the social and cultural practices of citizenship:
~How do we feel about our political and legal rights; are we engaged in formal politics?
~Do we think we have the power (or have the ‘agency’) to change the things we do not like? ~Can we make our voices heard?

All these dimensions of citizenship are continuously changing: not only because of a changing legal environment, but also cultures changes, from young people experiencing changing transitions to adulthood, to the emergence of new technologies and structural economic adjustments, all influence the way we relate to citizenship.

It is our hope that a number of these interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary dialogues will be ongoing and that ultimately a series of related cross context research projects will be developed. It is also anticipated that these will support and encourage the establishment of useful collaborative networks, and the development, presentation, and publication of research materials.

What to Send:

300 word abstracts or presentation proposals should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract.
E-mails should be entitled: Citizen1 Abstract Submission.
Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.

Organising Chairs
James Arvanitakis:
Rob Fisher:

The conference is part of the Persons programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
For further details of the project, please visit:
For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.
cfp categories: 
modernist studies


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