The Changing Nature of Citizenship

Published: Wednesday 1st April 2015

The Changing Nature of Citizenship is an international conference to be held at the University of Potsdam, Germany.

About the conference 

The forms of citizenship that Europe acquired in the 1950s and 1960s as a consequence of post-war reconstruction based on Keynesian principles of full employment and state investment in economic growth and social stability, received a large shock in the 1970s and 1980s by what became known as Thatcherism, and later as neo-liberalism. These policies involved a departure from Keynesian economics, a reduction of state involvement in the economy, the privatisation of utilities and services, and an emphasis on individual responsibility. The consequence was growing inequality, poverty, exclusion and conflicts for the right to have rights and to make a living in Western capitalist societies.

This general development has not only been accompanied by deep transformations of stateness, but become catalyzed after 9/11 and London bombings as Western governments became increasingly focused on security and surveillance, rather than welfare and health care. These trends were reinforced by the financial crisis that began in 2008 and the resulting development of austerity packages for European societies, especially those on the periphery (Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and so forth).

Given that the rights of people – be it national citizenship, European citizenship, or human rights – are under fundamental pressure almost all over the globe, the conference will discuss a wide range of processes that will inevitably transform the "nature of citizenship" at the beginning of the 21st Century.