Citizenship is a contested and multifaceted concept. This article introduces a research design to explore individual perspectives on citizenship in Germany. Its emphasis is on capturing broad perspectives on citizenship in a wide array of variations and terms. To achieve this, the article proceeds in two steps: First, a concourse on citizenship is constructed. To populate the concourse, I draw on citizenship theory and the German-speaking Twitter discourse on citizenship. Second, that concourse is used for a further, systematic empirical investigation of perspectives on citizenship in Germany. Results from an online Q-methodological survey with 294 German citizens from autumn 2020 are presented. Four factors emerge from the Q-survey: critical ethno-culturalists, active democrats, liberal democrats, and cosmopolitans. While all associate different concepts of belonging, participation, and equality with citizenship, all four conceptualizations share the view that citizenship is more than a status and connect it to obligation. Obligation takes different forms, namely common tradition, political participation, liberal institutions, and humanist connection. The article combines the most distinctive conflict lines in citizenship studies by drawing on both theoretical and empirical approaches. It thereby contributes a novel methodology and relevant deeper insight into the complexities of citizenship.
Franziska Maier, Citizenship from below: exploring subjective perspectives on German citizenship, Political Research Exchange, 2021.