chapter  6
10 Pages

Practising citizenship from the ordinary to the activist

ByCatherine Neveu

In the literature on citizenship, both classical and contemporary, it is usually considered that the notion necessarily implies that citizens as political subjects are ‘active’. While such ‘activity’ is differently envisioned according to the academic, theoretical, or contextual backgrounds of authors, its connections with what is usually called ‘the ordinary’ largely remains to be explored and empirically renewed. This chapter thus has as its main aim to offer some guidelines about the complex and intricate connections between citizenship ‘activity’ and ordinariness. The discussion relies on an approach of citizenship that affirms it has no essence which is immutable across time and space; indeed

if citizenship is now increasingly recognized as a contested idea, this diversity is not a mere multiplicity of views but entails disputes between distinct, divergent or even antagonistic meanings. Specific contexts typically contain such conflicting conceptions of citizenship – and the associated attempts to install them as the recognized, legitimated and institutionalized form. Such conflicts continue, even after one conception of citizenship has been institutionalized – it remains the focus of further efforts to challenge, inflect or translate it.