These are the 8 panels which have preliminary approval:

1) Sanctuary cities and subnational sanctuary policies in Europe: theoretical perspectives
Chair: Dr. Julia Mourão Permoser, University of Innsbruck, Department of Political Science 
The term “sanctuary city” generally refers to a city whose municipal laws and policies protect unauthorized immigrants from deportation or prosecution. A common characteristic of sanctuary cities is the enactment of “firewall” policies, meaning the prohibition of public servants not directly charged with border enforcement — e.g. hospital workers, school workers, municipal administration workers, local police — to check migrants’ legal status. The aim of such policies is to provide a safe environment for irregular immigrants to participate in society, make use of institutions, and receive services without fear of persecution. By refusing to cooperate with national law enforcement authorities, sanctuary cities thus constitute themselves as important sites of resistance to restrictive national migration regimes and antiimmigrant policies. Although the phenomenon is most widespread in the US-American context, also in Europe several cities have declared themselves to be cities of sanctuary or refuge in recent years, implementing firewall policies and organizing themselves into transnational networks of urban solidarity. This panel tackles the issue from a theoretical perspective. Authors in this panel will be invited to draw on the experiences of sanctuary cities across both sides of the Atlantic in order to illuminate the relationship between sanctuary and citizenship. The idea here is to assess the extent to which sanctuary policies can be said to inaugurate a form of citizenship that is independent of legal status and that is largely detached from national belonging: a form of “sanctuary city-zenship”. 

2) Political education and the young learner
Chairs: Kjersti Eggen Dahl, Stine Johansen Utler
Political understanding begins in early childhood (Greenstein, 1965) and young people are aware and knowledgeable about politics from an early age (Götzmann 2015). Political education from early school years therefor plays an important role in the development of young peoples’ relationship with the political sphere. This panel is interested in bringing together a series of interdisciplinary theoretical and empirical papers about how education can contribute to youths’ current and future relationship with the political sphere from an early age. This includes how young people understand politics in a wide sense, how they deal with conflicting perspectives, how they cognitively process political news, developmental stages and in what ways education can close the gap between young learners and the political world.

This panel seeks to respond to the tendency that young people seems to experience that politics is that does not interest them and is not relevant for them and the lives they live. The goal is to elucidate how we can build an engagement and competence for future democratic participation in a political sphere that seems to be getting harder to comprehend from an early age.    

3) Political Awareness, Engagement and Identity
Chairs:  Niels Nørgaard Kristensen, Trond Solhaug
Political awareness relates to the development of political knowledge and skills, self-esteem and a broader set of political interests and understandings. The aim of the panel is to gain knowledge of political engagement and action, and to investigate into forms of underlying political identity constructions, political participation, and possibilities for political learning. Political identities here broadly correlate with what Converse (1964) labelled as “belief systems”. Political identity in this conception also develops through empowerment processes and through the subjective acquisition of political roles. Few studies have explored how individuals develop political engagement and identity. This panel especially welcomes studies on political awareness and people’s attention to politics: Studies focusing on how people become politically active, how people assess their political knowledge and their actual understandings of political matters, or how political identities develop. 

4) Reconciliation in democracies under stress: a need for new civic education approaches?
Chairs: Katarina Marej, Andrea Szukala
Democracies around the world face strong intra-societal polarisations. Narratives are dividing the population into friends and enemies and impede a constructive democratic process. With this panel, we raise the question whether difficult democratic transitions (e.g. after elections) can and must be accompanied by specific approaches to citizenship education. Namely, we intend to initiate a discussion whether it is appropriate to apply elements of education for peace and reconciliation, usually designed for post-conflict countries (Bekerman/Zembylas 2012; Rubagiza/Umutoni/Kaleeba 2016; Charalambous/Zembylas/ Charalambous 2020), to Western democracies and how this can be done.

  • Therefore, we are looking for contributions which report experiences from post-conflict societies conceptually and empirically (also comparatively);
  • present conceptual approaches to the question of polarization and civic education and democratic “healing” and resilience;
  • address the potential of civic education for democratic reconciliation in societies torn apart by extreme tendencies of division and autocratization;
  • theoretically consider how approaches of peace and reconciliation education can be translated to Western contexts.

5)  The Promise and Peril of Liberalism: Social movements and the performance of citizenship
Chair: Tendayi Bloom, University of Birmingham (TBC)

This panel analyses practices of radical citizenship that mobilise the paradoxes of democratic citizenship as a generative site of political intervention. Liberal democratic citizenship is never fully distinct from illiberalism because its universal promise is embedded within nation-states. This is what Chantal Mouffe calls the ‘democratic paradox’: a tension in liberal democracies between freedom and equality – between liberal ideas of universal rights and individual liberty, and democratic forms of equality and popular sovereignty (Mouffe 2009). Rather than approaching the ‘democratic paradox’ as a problem to be overcome, we understand it as a constitutive feature of liberal citizenship. In this respect, liberal approaches to citizenship are particularly problematic due to an inherent and depoliticising individualism that reduces citizenship to a legal status within a nation-state.

Certain practices of citizenship challenge this individualistic legal category while others reinforce it. Progressive social movements such as Black Lives Matter, Abolish ICE and the Gilets Noir open new possibilities for who can act as citizens and the claims that can be made, regardless of status. The literature on performative citizenship has tended to focus on claims for new rights and inclusion. Yet conservative movements like Generation Identitaire and the Tea Party act to reaffirm the exclusionary nature of liberal citizenship, and whether these can be understood as performative is a matter of debate. The aim of this panel is to critically engage with performative approaches to citizenship to consider the tension between progressive and conservative social movements and their consequences for how we practice citizenship.

6) Citizenship in the Digital Age: Implications and Consequences for Political Institutions, Civic Education, and Political Participation
Chairs:  Frank Reichert, Bastian Vajen
Citizenship has traditionally been defined by membership of geopolitical entities such as nation states, and with rights and responsibilities as the common denominator. However, modern technologies demand a broader understanding of citizenship as they have impacted societies around the globe in fundamental ways. For example, digital technologies have the potential to empower members of communities (e.g., gathering political information from various sources, forming political groups, mobilizing citizens). Yet at the same time, access to these technologies is not equal and new threats to social inclusion and democratic participation have been identified (e.g., digital divides, misinformation, echo chambers). It is therefore unsurprising that the notion of “digital citizenship” has burgeoned in recent years, often referring to aspects such as online civic engagement or media literacy. However, the term “digital citizenship” requires precision, and the implications for different areas of society (e.g., for political decision-making processes, the links between online and offline civic action, social cohesion, or civic education), are still to be understood. This panel aims to bring together researchers interested in any aspect of digital citizenship. Papers may examine questions such as:

  • What is digital citizenship, theoretically or from citizens’ perspectives (e.g., politicians, students, teachers)?
  • What are the potentials and challenges of digitization for democratic institutions and democratization? How can these potentials be strengthened, and the challenges be addressed?
  • Which skills do digital citizens need? How can these skills be fostered?
  • What is the role of education and socialization processes in the development of digital citizenship?

7) The pandemic and civic education: dangers and opportunities
Chairs: Itay Snir and Gal Levy
For quite a long time now, the medical crisis has taken over social and political life to the level of excluding almost all other issues. Apart from some “grand” political events such as the U.S. elections, politics seems to be narrowed down to health and economic survival. The field of education is no exception: the need to comply with social distancing affected education systems throughout the world, and in many places, schools were closed for varying periods of time and replaced with online platforms. 

This is particularly problematic for civic education. When it is difficult to have proper classes of the most basic aspects of the curriculum, civic education is in danger of being cast aside. Moreover, the prohibition of actual meetings and face-to-face encounters hinders various activities which are essential for civic education. 

However, the contemporary situation also opens interesting opportunities for civic and political education. The combination of often-unreasonable regulations with governmental corruption and police violence pushes groups and individuals who usually stay out of the political arena to take to the streets. Restrictions and limitations also generate varied reactions of political agents, from creative demonstrations to outright disobedience. The proposed panel will be dedicated to examining the dangers and opportunities faced by civic education in these unusual times. 

8) Do It Yourself – Youth Civic Participation between Disengagement and New Types of Action
Chairs: Anna J. Fiedler, Frank Reichert
The ability to participate in political processes is a defining element of citizenship as it enables citizens to hold their representatives accountable and to influence political decision-making. What accounts for political participation has been repeatedly reevaluated in light of ever evolving political spheres. Nonetheless, institutionalized forms of participation (e.g., voting, volunteering) have remained the focal point of analysis. Young people are marginalized from many institutional channels for participation, even though today’s political decisions will shape their futures and the world for which they will be responsible. Their voices are underrepresented due to limited opportunities to engage in these political processes. Although youth are often described as politically ‘apathetic’ or ‘disengaged’, they are interested in political affairs and have become more active and connected through new modes of engagement, described by some as ‘Do-It-Yourself’ (DIY) or ‘Do-It-Ourself’ citizenship. This reflects a move from a duty-based concept of citizenship and institutionalized participation towards ‘self-actualized citizenship’ based on lifestyle values (e.g., expressed through ‘boycotting’). More recently, youth have successfully instigated major collective movements using informal channels and self-coordinated, peer-to-peer exchanges, often enabled through digital communication, online networks, and a unique sense of belonging. This panel aims to explore the modes of participation that young people adopt to make their voices heard, as well as the roots and consequences. We welcome a range of papers, including but not limited to empirical and methodological studies of DIY youth civic participation, perspectives on new modes of participation, and the effects of digitization on youth civic action.