Citizenship and participation

1st National  Phd Conference in Social Sciences  

Padua 23rd-25th June 2016

In the current social scenario of great social transformations, citizenship is a very key issue, and its frequent references in common use, as well as in the social sciences, are based on the great evocative power of the concept in its many dimensions.

Along with a general crisis of Western democracies and the nation-state, there is an increasing hybridization of forms and meanings associated with the term citizenship, together with a multiplication of physical and symbolic places where this takes shape.

In fact, in today’s prevailing meanings coexist different interpretations of the term: citizenship as membership, as recognition of rights and duties, as a status-assigned and regulated by law; and a conception of citizenship understood as active citizenship/citizen participation, with both conventional and unconventional ways, in the economic, political and social community life aiming to influence policies, governance processes and decisions of collective interest.

Many different theories and empirical studies have followed, primarily as a result of social change – migration in particular – who have challenged the concept of citizenship as a status related to a nation in a given territory (Hammar, 1985).

If on one hand the concept of citizenship as a status in relation to the territory has been questioned, on the other hand there is a growing interest  in participatory processes and citizen involvement on a local basis, and on forms of mobilization and organization of collective action that take shape within social media.

This call for paper aims to contribute to the lively debate on the changes taking place around the concept of citizenship – understood here as voice and exercise – in contemporary societies, moving through an inter-disciplinary perspective, which takes into account the polysemic character of the term.

Some of the questions around which the thematic session aims to rethink are:

  • What does citizenship mean (as a legal status) for the citizens themselves: immigrants ‘naturalized’ and natives? How is it felt, and what meanings are related and assigned?
  • Double / multiple citizenships and multiple loyalties. Compatibility, incompatibility?
  • What does citizenship (as a legal status)mean for the citizens themselves: immigrants ‘naturalized’ and natives, how is it felt, which meanings are assigned to it?
  • Glocal Participation , localism and grassroots activism: What forms, meanings and experiences?
  • What new forms of mobilization and collective action with unconventional ways and digital technologies?
  • Citizen involvement in public policy-making. What effects on individuals, communities and the quality of decisions?

In order to promote a scientific analysis capable of making a synthesis of what has been produced in various research areas (from political science to sociology, from anthropology to psychology) theoretical and empirical contributions, are welcome, and encouraged those with a comparative and multi – method perspective.

In order to guide the authors in sending contributions, two main thematic areas, have been identified:


  • Social movement organization;
  • community participation and grassroots activism;
  • citizen involvement in public policy-making;
  • boycott, protest, occupation and other unconventional ways of participation;
  • organization of collective action and digital technologies;
  • forms of urban citizenship;
  • citizenship and affection / intimacy.


  • Perceptions and representations of citizenship(s);
  • struggles for recognition;
  • welfare and social services;
  • residence and local reality between social recognition and usability of services.

Furthermore, are welcome multimedia contributions, representing material of the research field or product of research, as well as contributions in collaboration with associations, movements, committees, etc., in which participants are active actors of the research process.


Abstracts should be up to 300 words (bibliography not included), and be written either in Italian or in English and must be sent by February 20, 2016 via email to: adding the title of the session in the subject of the email: Citizenship and participation”. Abstracts must have the following structure:

title, author(s)*, text, keywords.

* author’s contact details and a short biography (up to 100 words)

The result of the evaluation will be notified to authors by 20 March 2016. Please note that to participate to the conference you need to sign up (free) which will be available on the appropriate form on the website from March 20, 2015 until 30 April, 2015. For organizational reasons we invite applicants to register by the deadline[1].

Authors of selected abstracts have to send a paper up to 35,000 characters (including spaces and bibliography) by 31 May 2016 to the same e-mail address.

At the end, contribution may be collected for scientific publications cured by the referee of the session together with the author(s).


Fulvio Biddau, PhD Student in Social Sciences, FISPPA Department – University of Padova

Eriselda Shkopi, PhD Student in Social Sciences, FISPPA Department – University of Padova

Orkide Izci, PhD Student in Social Sciences, FISPPA Department – University of Padova

Renato Ponciano¸ PhD Student in Social Sciences, FISPPA Department – University of Padova


[1] Coffee breaks and spritz-time are included.

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