Social psychology and citizenship: a critical perspective

Andreouli, Eleni (2019). Social psychology and citizenship: a critical perspective. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 13(2), article no. e12432.



The paper advances a critical social psychological approach to the study of citizenship. It builds upon recent social psychological work on the subject, particularly in discursive and rhetorical psychology but also other critical approaches such as social representations theory. The paper also borrows insights from the interdisciplinary field of citizenship studies in order to conceptualise citizenship in both its conventional (enacting well-established scripts of political action) and its transformative aspects (making rights claims that are disruptive of established scripts). The paper is divided in five sections. The first section considers the relationship between social psychology and citizenship; the second section offers a conceptualisation of citizenship that takes under consideration citizens’ practices from the ground up and constraints posed by existing norms and laws; the third section considers the value of adding citizenship into the social psychological conceptual toolkit. The fourth more substantive section advances a critical social psychological approach to citizenship which focuses on the study of the different ways that ‘ordinary’ political actors engage with political matters in the mundane practices of everyday life. The last section concludes the paper and makes some suggestions for future directions, such as the study of emerging forms of citizenship through a more nuanced examination of intersecting political affiliations.

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