Active Citizenship: Towards Politics of Equality (Postdoctoral Research Project)
The project devises a new concept of active citizenship by situating the concept of citizenship into the transition societies of Central-Eastern Europe and by analysing recent theories of participatory citizenship, verifying the suitability of this new concept for the realisation of political equality and participation. Current theories of citizenship argue that in order to surpass the policies of inequality it is necessary to go beyond the duality of “established” and “alternative publics”, and to include civil society into the processes of policy formation. Namely, policies are created through discursive processes and examples from practice show that inequalities are often a consequence of incorrectly or insufficiently defined problems, from the definition of which the citizens have been excluded. The project will analyse selected current policies in Slovenia and the EU that touch upon equal citizenship, as well as focus on the evaluation of mechanisms of inclusion into citizenship or the exclusion from it. It will study the consistencies/inconsistencies of Slovene policies with the EU equality-related resolutions and recommendations. Based on the concept of intersectionality, which recognises the interdependence of exclusion mechanisms and expects the possibility of reproduction of such mechanisms due to personal circumstances (gender, age, nationality, ethnicity etc.), we aim to ascertain under which conditions the inequalities add up in such a way that they form new contexts of exclusion, hindering access to full citizenship. This project will test the hypothesis that the stronger are the mechanisms and practices of exclusion and the more these presuppose intersectionality of inequalities, the weaker are the political and social consensus, social cohesion and political legitimacy, causing a greater split in the society. In this sense, this research will show that it is only possible to satisfactorily change the mechanisms and practices of exclusion from full citizenship by an active citizenship approach that assumes new forms of citizen participation and responsibility. Using a theoretical deliberation and applicative verification of options for the realisation of active citizenship, one of the main goals of the proposed project is to formulate guidelines for the realisation of the cohesive and development potentials of active citizenship in practice.