Citizens’ Activism for Reimagining and Reinventing Citizenship Countering Far-Right Populism

  • Anna Krasteva
  • Aino Saarinen
  • Birte Siim
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


This concluding chapter by Anna Krasteva/Aino Saarinen and Birte Siim sums up the book’s contribution to “critical citizenship studies” in the epoch of transition from globalization to mainstreaming of national populism, conceptualizing civic activism and solidarity movements as challengers to national citizenship, and reinvention of citizenships—contestatory, solidary, everyday, creative, and so on. The challenges are met by the practice of civic actors, pro-migrants, pro-Roma, pro-LGBT, and feminists in nine national case studies. A major contribution of the book is the analysis of the transformation of actors into activists and of vulnerable individuals into self-empowered actors claiming rights, focusing on innovative practices of inclusiveness as politics of solidarity and “acts of friendship”. Civic activism is mapped in the coordinated system of contestatory vs. solidary citizenship and their impact on both politics and policies.


Contestatory citizenship Solidary citizenship Everyday citizenship Creative citizenship Local activism Counter-forces Anti-racism Pro-diversity activism National populism 


  1. Arendt, H. (1998). The human condition. Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Badie, B. (1995). La fin des territoires: Essai sur le désordre international et sur l’utilité sociale du respect. Paris: Fayard.Google Scholar
  3. Balibar, É. (1988). Is there a “neo-racism”? In É. Balibar & I. Wallerstein (Eds.), Race, nation, class: Ambiguous identities (pp. 17–28). London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Crouch, C. (2013, February 5). Five minutes with Colin Crouch. British Politics and Policy.
  5. Decreuse, T., Lievens, M., & Braeckman, A. (2014). Building collective identities: How new social movements try to overcome post-politics. Parallax, 20.
  6. Derrida, J. (1998). Of grammatology. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Hall, S. (1988). The hard road to renewal: Thatcherism and the crisis of the left. London/New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  8. Harrington, J. (2014). Navigating global citizenship studies. In E. F. Isin & P. Nyers (Eds.), Routledge handbook of global citizenship studies (pp. 12–20). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Isin, E. F., & Nielsen, G. M. (Eds.). (2008). Acts of citizenship. London/New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  10. Isin, E. (2009). Citizenship in flux: The figure of the activist citizen. Subjectivity, 29, 367–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Isin, E. F., & Nyers, P. (2014). Introduction. Globalizing citizenship studies. In E. F. Isin & P. Nyers (Eds.), Routledge handbook of global citizenship studies (pp. 1–11). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Karner, C. (2007). Austrian counter-hegemony. Critiquing ethnic exclusion and globalization. Ethnicities, 7, 82–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Krasteva, A. (2009). Being a citizen – Not a profession, but a commitment. In K. Hristova-Valtcheva (Ed.), New actors in a new environment: Accession to the EU, civil society and multi-level governance (pp. 35–43). Sofia: BECSA.Google Scholar
  14. Krasteva, A. (Ed.). (2013). E-citoyennetés. Paris: Harmattan.Google Scholar
  15. Krasteva, A. (2016a). Occupy Bulgaria or the emergence of the post-communist contestatory citizenship. Southeastern Europe, 40, 158–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Krasteva, A. (2016b). The white piano or the dilemma creative versus contestatory (e-)citizenship. Digital Icons, 15.
  17. Krasteva, A. (2017a, November 21). If borders did not exist, Euroscepticism would have invented them, or on post-communist re/de/re/bordering in Bulgaria. GeoPolitics.
  18. Krasteva, A. (2017b). If crises did not exist, populism would have invented them. In T. Olteanu, T. Spori, F. Jaitner, & H. Asenbaum (Eds.), Osteuropa transformiert: Sozialismus, Demokratie und Utopie (pp. 193–210). Wiesbaden: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Krasteva, A., & Vladisavljević, N. (2017). Securitisation versus citizenship: Populist and authoritarian misuses of security threats and civic responses in the Balkan states. Global Campus of Human Rights Journal, 1.2.
  20. Laclau, E. (1996). Emancipation(s). London/New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  21. Laclau, E. (2005). On populist reason. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  22. Levinas, E. (1969). Totality and infinity. Pittsburg: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Lister, R. (2003). Citizenship: Feminist perspectives (2nd ed.). Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McNevin, A. (2012). Undocumented citizens? Shifting grounds of citizenship in Los Angeles. In P. Nyers & K. Rygiel (Eds.), Citizenship, migrant activism and the politics of movement (pp. 165–183). New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  25. Mezzadra, S. (2011). The gaze of autonomy: Capitalism, migration and social struggles. In V. Squire (Ed.), The contested politics of mobility: Borderzones of irregularity (pp. 121–142). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Mhurchu, A. N. (2014). Citizenship beyond state sovereignty. In E. F. Isin & P. Nyers (Eds.), Routledge handbook of global citizenship studies (pp. 119–138). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Mouffe, C. (2013). Agonistics: Thinking the world politically. London/New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  28. Neveu, C. (2014). Practising citizenship from the ordinary to the activist. In E. F. Isin & P. Nyers (Eds.), Routledge handbook of global citizenship studies (pp. 86–95). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Nielsen, G. M. (2008). Answerability with cosmopolitan intent: An ethics-based politics for acts of urban citizenship. In E. F. Isin & G. M. Nielsen (Eds.), Acts of citizenship (pp. 266–286). London/New York: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  30. Nyers, P. (2011). Forms of irregular citizenship. In V. Squire (Ed.), The contested politics of mobility: Borderzones and irregularity (pp. 184–198). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Ong, A. (2006). Neoliberalism as exception. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sartre, J.-P. (1946). Reflexions sur la question juive. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  33. Siim, B., & Meret, S. (2016). Right wing populism in Denmark: People, nation and welfare in the construction of the “other”. In G. Lazaridis, A. Benveniste, & G. Campani (Eds.), The rise of the far right in a Europe under crisis. Houndmills, Basingstoke and Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  34. Soysal, Y. N. (1994). Limits of citizenship: Migrants and postnational membership in Europe. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  35. Sozuk, N. (2014). Global citizenship in an insurrectional era. In E. F. Isin & P. Nyers (Eds.), Routledge handbook of global citizenship studies (pp. 49–50). London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Touraine, A. (1987). Social movements: Participation and protest. Scandinavian Political Studies, 10, 207–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Van Houtum, H., & Van Naerssen, T. (2002). Bordering, ordering and othering. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 93, 125–136. Scholar
  38. Георгиева, В. (2016). Множества на несъгласните. Антропология на протестните движения в България (2009–2013). София: СУ Кл. Охридски.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Krasteva
    • 1
  • Aino Saarinen
    • 2
  • Birte Siim
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Political SciencesNew Bulgarian UniversitySofiaBulgaria
  2. 2.Aleksanteri InstituteHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Department of Culture and Global StudiesAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

Personalised recommendations