What is an act of citizenship?

Who are the active European citizens?

The official view of European citizenship

The European Commission tends to think of the active European citizens as consumers, workers, students, professionals or travellers who are taking advantage of rights they already have as EU citizens, often in exercising free movement across the EU.

The Commission is focussed on 'removing obstacles' to the exercise of European citizenship for EU citizens understood in these ways, and the European citizenship reports of 2010 and 2013 concentrate on 'making citizens' lives easier'.

The European Year of Citizens is, according to the Commission website, 'focussing on rights that every EU citizen has. All 500 million Europeans benefit daily from these rights – as does the European economy.'

Why are only people with EU-citizenship considered as 'Europeans'?

Is citizenship just about the enjoyment of rights that have already been granted?

What about these people and their struggles for citizenship?

Enacting European Citizenship

New research from the Open University brings attention to the importance of a variety of political acts from ‘unexpected’ European citizens, who may be claiming rights they do not already have.

Through putting an emphasis on what people do rather than the status they have, the research led by Prof Engin Isin has revealed that there are many forms of active European citizenship currently under-recognised by the European institutions and in European scholarship more generally.

These acts of citizenship often come from marginalised groups, or from people who do not have EU citizenship.

Acts of citizenship are essentially political acts which extend and deepen democracy.

Creating a new sense of citizenship

Oecumene Project & Enacting European Citizenship

Through two European funded research projects, Engin Isin and his team are developing research on Citizenship after Orientalism and the ways European citizenship is enacted by people every day for political causes and struggles.

Much of this research is available online here www.enacting-citizenship.eu or at www.oecumene.eu or by clicking on the links above.

A book published in April 2013 - Enacting European Citizenship, edited by Engin Isin and Michael Saward - brings out several of the research results of the project.