Citizenship on the Periphery

We especially welcome papers on a wide variety of geographic and social contexts and from the perspectives of different subfields/approaches within anthropology. If interested, please send your 250 word abstract, title and keywords to Jessica Nelson at by March 27th.

Recent political shifts in the US, Brazil, and elsewhere, remind us of the importance of interrogating concepts such as “democracy” and “citizenship.” We take both concepts to represent ongoing processes and sets of relationships that are under (re)construction, rather than being established, regardless of geographical or socio-historical context. Perhaps the workings of a democracy and the nature of  its potential citizenships are best revealed when we look not only at the political centers but also at a society’s margins, and the actions of those most excluded from such centers of privilege (Holston 2008, Miraftab and Wills 2005), the “invited spaces” or the “spaces of power” (Cornwall and Coelho 2007) where a differentiated access to social, economic and political resources is maintained among a privileged few. This panel will explore the nature of citizenship on the periphery from a range of social and geographic contexts. The panel as a whole will also draw on a variety of approaches within anthropology, from the micro-level of discourse and the (re)construction of social meanings in interaction, to work focusing on broader historical changes and how they are remembered. This will allow us to look at these issues from multiple angles and at different scales, bringing to light critical intersections and commonalities between democracies and modes of citizenship across a variety of contexts.