The consortium assesses European citizenship as enacted by citizens as well as non-citizens (third country nationals, refugees, illegal aliens). By investigating what we call ‘acts o citizenship’ we aim to determine the meaning given to the idea of European citizenship by those whose acts create new forms of identification. We recognize that in a complex space such as the European Union, acts of citizenship—those acts through which subjects constitute themselves as European—will vary considerably reflecting various trajectories, territories, and cultures. Thus the consortium involves three original member states (UK, Belgium and the Netherlands), two new member states (Hungary and Latvia) and a candidate state (Turkey). The focus on acts of citizenship has several advantages. First, subjects and actors need not be conceived in advance as to what their status is or even the kind of entities they are since they can be individuals, states, groups and other legal or quasi-legal entities or persons. To recognize certain acts as acts of citizenship requires understanding that these acts produce subjects as citizens. Second, acts that articulate claims and produce claimants create new sites of belonging and identification. These sites are different than traditional sites of citizenship such as voting, social security, and military obligation though these continue to be important. Third, acts of citizenship stretch across boundaries and involve multiple scales of belonging and identification. The focus on acts of citizenship that produce new subjects, sites and scales of citizenship is therefore a vital concern for understanding how European citizenship is enacted. Fourth, by investigating acts we shift focus from what people say (opinion, perception, attitude surveys) to what people do, which is an important supplement, and under certain circumstances, corrective, to studies that concern themselves with what people say about their European citizenship and identification.
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