Call for Applications to the Workshop

Lived Citizenship, Uprising and Migration: Everyday Politics, Imaginaries and Contestation

Organized by:  Hania Sobhy (MPI-MMG), Salwa Ismail (SOAS) and Nadine Abdalla (AUC)

Supported by:  Department Socio-Cultural Diversity, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (MPI-MMG)

30 September – 1 October 2021, Berlin

With the first wave of the Arab Uprisings, it became apparent that new frameworks were needed for understanding the diverse experiences, resources and aspirations of Arab publics. The unprecedented scale of collective action presented serious challenges to the status quo, and triggered major regional and global developments, including a new wave of migration across the Mediterranean that remains at the forefront of European politics.  With still unfolding repercussions, 2019 witnessed a second wave of the Arab uprisings with major protests in five more countries in the region. This workshop explores new ways of thinking about the everyday experiences that shape political outcomes in the Arab region and its diasporas. While many scholars have examined the causes of the uprisings and the institutional arrangement and re-arrangements that followed, little research has been carried out on how the everyday realities, transformations and dislocation are lived by different categories of citizens.

Through the theme of lived citizenship, the workshop explores how citizens experience and shape the everyday realities of socio-economic, political and spatial governance and the changing narratives of identity and legitimation in these critical times. The lens of lived citizenship serves as a tool for understanding how differentiated rights, obligations and forms of belonging are navigated and contested across categories of social difference. Lived citizenship points to citizenship as always gendered, classed, racialized, critically intersecting with intensities of privilege, violence and clientelism and producing differentiated political subjectivities and modes of appropriation, contestation, exit and flight. The workshop is particularly concerned with the intersections of lived citizenship with everyday forms of contestation as well as the episodes of mass mobilization that have shaped the contemporary politics of many countries in the region. It welcomes investigations of the transformations of lived citizenship along journeys of migration in encounters with immigrant reception homes, integration courses and formal and informal labor markets. It invites explorations of how everyday realities, narratives and encounters in formal and informal institutions reflect different constellations of the relationship between state and citizen. More broadly, the workshop seeks to encourage deeper engagement with the emerging global scholarship on citizenship, including its enacted, lived, affective and transnational dimensions.

The workshop seeks to bring together emerging and established scholars who work on related themes. It invites contributions based on field research in the Arab region or among Arab populations, virtually and across the world. It stresses bridging disciplinary and methodological boundaries from the ethnographic and sociological to the political economy and policy-focused approaches. As the dynamics of lived citizenship in the region are both internally diverse and common to other regional settings, the workshop welcomes research from a comparative perspective.

The workshop keynote address will be delivered by Peter Nyers (McMaster University).

Contributions could fall into, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • Citizenship and Contestation: Mass Protest, Mobilization and Everyday Contestation
  • Imaginaries, Narratives, Affects and Enactments of Citizenship
  • Lived Citizenship and Migration: Exit, Transit, Arrival and Return
  • The Everyday Politics of Belonging, Difference and Diversity

Details, Application and Timeline
The workshop is scheduled to take place at Harnack House conference venue of the
Max Planck Society, Berlin, Germany, on 30 September and 1 October 2021. Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered for workshop participants. If the relevant COVID-19 related travel and meeting restrictions do not allow for holding the physical meetings at that time, the workshop will not be cancelled, but rather partially or entirely moved to a virtual format.

Interested scholars are asked to submit a 150-word bio and a 300-word abstract to by 15 January 2021; indicating whether they are willing to submit a previously unpublished article length manuscript for publication in a special issue based on the workshop. Selected workshop participants will be notified by 15 February 2021 and the deadline for submitting complete manuscripts for discussion at the workshop is 16 August 2021. Selected contributors to the special issue will be notified in November 2021, requested to submit pre-final manuscripts and invited to an Authors Workshop at the American University in Cairo in early 2022 to finalize their submissions.

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