Citizenship in the age of populism

The tension between citizenship and democracy is well documented in the literature on citizenship. The paper revisits it through the lens of populism. It engages with the critics and proponents of the phenomenon and it argues that the juxtaposition that they all stage between the people and the citizens does not just intensify the tension between the exclusionary politics of citizenship and democracy’s universalising aspirations, but it also threatens to restrict the appeal of citizenship to mainstream liberal theory. The paper concludes by suggesting that the kind of affectivity, which democratic mobilisations draw on, and that one associates with the ‘people’, is often missing from citizenship practices – and this further undermines the connection between citizenship and democracy.

Paulina Tambakaki, Citizenship in the age of populism, Citizenship Studies, 2022.