Citizenship in flux: The figure of the activist citizen

Isin, Engin F. (2009). Citizenship in flux: The figure of the activist citizen. Subjectivity, 29 pp. 367–388.



Throughout the twentieth century the figure of citizenship that has been dominant since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has begun to change. We have witnessed the emergence of new rights including ecological, sexual and indigenous rights as well as blurring of the boundaries between human and civil, political and social rights and the articulation of rights by (and to) cities, regions and across states. We have witnessed the birth of new ‘acts of citizenship’: both organized and spontaneous protests to include situationist and carnivalesque forms. We have also witnessed the emergence of ‘activist’ international courts (and judges), as well as new media and social networking as sites of struggles. How subjects act to become citizens and claim citizenship has thus substantially changed. This article interprets these developments as heralding a new figure of citizenship, and begins the important task of developing a new vocabulary by which it can be understood.

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