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57140-01 - Lecture: Contemporary Dilemmas of Citizenship 3 CP

Semester spring semester 2021
Course frequency Irregular
Lecturers Teresa Pullano (, Assessor)
Content This lecture discusses contemporary theories and practices of citizenship from the perspective of its three dilemmas: the dilemma of "freedom", the dilemma of "equality" and the one of "participation". More precisely, our present time is often depicted as the one of the crisis of (liberal) democracy as we have known it in the Western world since the end of World War II. From populist movements within Western democracies, to authoritarian regimes expanding their power in the world, the thesis of the "end of history" and of the final victory of liberal democracies at the global level has been definitely contested. The question of citizenship is strictly linked to the one of democracy: the citizen is the actor of a political regime based on the freedom and equality of all, as well as on self-rule and social emancipation. Who is "the citizen" today? Are citizens still bounded to the membership of national community? To what extent does the phenomenon of migration question the link between the citizen and the national? And if so, how is political identity redefined today beyond the nation? The economic crisis of 2009, in which we still are today, is questioning the nexus between democratic citizenship and economic rights: are growing social inequalities eroding the basis of liberal citizenship? And finally, what is the democratic power of citizenship? In a perceived growing divide between the citizens and the elite, which constituent power lies in the hands of the citizens? These are the question that will be explored in the lecture making reference to theoretical texts in the field of modern and contemporary political philosophy, political science and sociology. In particular, the lecture will be divided in three thematic blocs:
1. Exploring the citizen-subject nexus. Is citizenship a way out of domination? Or citizens are also and always subjects? The dilemma of freedom.
2. Exploring the relation between citizenship and social class. Is class still a central category for understanding the transformations of contemporary democracy? The dilemma of equality.
3. Acts of citizenship: the nexus between the individual subject and the political community. The dilemma of participation.
Learning objectives - Acquiring the theoretical vocabulary and knowledge to define and work with contested political categories of the present;
- Understanding the historicity of political categories and concepts;
- Working at the nexus of empirical and theoretical social and political problems;
- Understanding the complex relationship between citizenship and democracy.
Bibliography Indicative bibliography:
Arendt, H. 1958. The human condition, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Arendt, H. [1951] 1966. The origins of totalitarianism, Vol. New edition with added prefaces, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovic.
Marx, K. [1843] 2014, On the Jewish Question, in Waldron, J. (ed.) Nonsense upon Stilts. Bentham Burke and Marx on the Rights of Man, London: Routeldge.
Balibar, E. 2016, Citizen Subject, New York: Fordham.
Isin, E. 2000, Being Political, Genealogies of Citizenship, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Weblink Europainstitut


Language of instruction English
Use of digital media No specific media used
Course auditors welcome


Interval Weekday Time Room
wöchentlich Thursday 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -


Date Time Room
Thursday 04.03.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 11.03.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 18.03.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 25.03.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 01.04.2021 12.00-14.00 Ostern
Thursday 08.04.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 15.04.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 22.04.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 29.04.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 06.05.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 13.05.2021 12.00-14.00 Auffahrt
Thursday 20.05.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 27.05.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Thursday 03.06.2021 12.00-14.00 - Online Präsenz -, --
Modules Modul: Erweiterung Gesellschaftswissenschaften M.A. (Master's degree subject: Political Science)
Modul: Fields: Governance and Politics (Master's degree program: African Studies)
Modul: Soziologische Theorie BA (Bachelor's degree subject: Sociology)
Modul: Soziologische Theorie MA (Master's degree subject: Sociology)
Modul: Transfer: Europa interdisziplinär (Master's degree program: European History in Global Perspective)
Modul: Vertiefung Politikwissenschaft B.A. (Bachelor's degree subject: Political Science)
Modul: Vertiefung Politikwissenschaft M.A. (Master's degree subject: Political Science)
Module: The Urban across Disciplines (Master's degree program: Critical Urbanisms)
Vertiefungsmodul Global Europe: Arbeit, Migration und Gesellschaft (Master's Studies: European Global Studies)
Vertiefungsmodul Global Europe: Staatlichkeit, Entwicklung und Globalisierung (Master's Studies: European Global Studies)
Assessment format record of achievement
Assessment details The course will be graded on a scale from 1.0 to 6.0. The final assessment will consist in a written exam in class to be taken at the end of the lecture.
Assessment registration/deregistration Reg.: course registration; dereg.: not required
Repeat examination no repeat examination
Scale 1-6 0,5
Repeated registration as often as necessary
Responsible faculty University of Basel
Offered by Europainstitut