Funded following the Alliance Europa’s 2016 call for research projects, the CITER project aims to take a fresh look at the challenges of European citizenship.

The emergence of new political orders, particularly in Europe with the construction of Europe, the phenomenon of globalisation, international migration, financial globalisation and the development of new technologies are profoundly changing the concept of citizenship that has been passed down from liberal and democratic movements since the end of the 18th century. The once solid triad of nation state, citizenship and democracy now seems to be falling apart.  The “migrant” crisis, like the wave of jihadist attacks in France and Belgium, is also weakening one of the traditional representations of citizenship in most European countries: its closure on a particular community, deeply-rooted in a territory and embodied in a history. In short, these deconstruction and reconstruction phenomena question the major figures of political modernity. Although they are part of a global movement, they nonetheless raise serious questions and give rise to widespread anxiety. This is reflected in the success of nationalist parties in many parts of the continent.

Researchers need to consider this questioning of public opinion.  It is no longer a given for citizenship to be included in the nation state framework, and this situation is a timely opportunity to question the past and future of the civic link within and across national sovereignties.

The Citer project structures this reflection around three main research themes:

  • Research Theme 1) European citizenships under imperialism and colonialism

To begin with, this involves exploring the historical “hold” of European citizenship by considering the centrality of colonial and imperial experiences over the long term and from a transnational and global perspective.

  • Research Theme 2) Migration, identity constructions, rights of minorities

Immigrant. Migrant. Foreigner. Refugee. All these terms are used to describe residents and citizens from immigrant backgrounds, but the majority of these people come from territories that were once within the direct or indirect sphere of influence of the States of the Old Continent. Nationals or non-nationals, they are at the frontier of the civic community: their situation, often blurry and ambivalent, sheds light on the tensions that characterise changes in citizenship in the European Union. The process of access to social and political rights and the legal recognition, or otherwise, of cultural and religious differences is also explored.

  • Research Theme 3) Citizenship and cosmopolitanism

Europe presents itself as a cosmopolitical offshoot of the national framework, essentially based on adherence to values. CITER questions the history of this utopian projection, its integration in the history of democracy and its impact on redefining the link between the individual and the political community. In this sense, preference will be given to the themes of assimilationism and multiculturalism, for example, and constitutional patriotism.

The main objective of the project is, from a research perspective, to take a fresh look at the issues of European citizenship by approaching them from the history of their legal, geographical and social margins, in a global and long-term approach.

CITER team

Project leaders :

Post-doctorante : Kaja Skowronska