The Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften: Events

Monday, 30 September 2019 - Tuesday, 01 October 2019
Venue: Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften der Goethe-Universität; Am Wingertsberg 4, 61348 Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe

Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften

Sandra Seubert (Goethe University)
»From Protection to Empowerment: EU Citizenship’s political and constitutional potential«

Sandra Seubert has been professor of political science with a focus on political theory at Goethe University since 2009. Her research concentrates on the field of modern democratic theory, in particular on theories of transnational citizenship as well as the political theory of privacy. Between 2013 and 2017 she was a PI and member of the executive board of the EU-sponsored, collaborative project Barriers towards EU citizenship (bEUcitizen). She is also a speaker of the research group Transformations of Privacy, which is sponsored by the VW Foundation within the funding initiative »Key Issues for Academia and Society«. From 2018 to 2021 she is a Goethe Fellow at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften.

About the Workshop
EU citizenship’s introduction in the Treaty of Maastricht (1992) promoted silent but institutionally effective dynamics of detaching citizenship from the national. EU citizenship grants not only political rights – the right to vote and stand for office in local and European elections – but also to a certain extent social rights to citizens of other member states. While not supposed to substitute for national citizenship (still being based on national citizenship in a member state of the EU), EU citizenship has nevertheless triggered a transformative dynamic: opening- up national boundaries and gradually shifting the basis of access to rights according to a principle of residency. Nevertheless, for years the political and constitutional potential of EU citizenship has rarely been discussed in public political discourse. Issues of free movement and the rights to which it does and does not give rise have largely been marginalized. Under conditions of rising inequality within Europe – among citizens, regions as well as member states – freedom of movement for persons has recently been highly politicised by anti-European populism. At the same time, interest in, and attention to, European issues have increased during the crises and have even moved to the centre of some national election campaigns. In the course of these events not only anti- but also pro-European social movements have emerged. With the common aim of countering Euroscepticism, these movements are expressing their concern about a potential disintegration of the EU, and call upon political actors to urgently address necessary reforms for the future.

The workshop invites leading scholars in the field to look at the future of European citizenship and rethink its foundational core. It asks what would be needed to transform EU citizenship into a meaningful political status that makes a difference to people’s lives in the sense of spurring them into collective action. It suggests that rethinking EU citizenship means relocating the political agent who can influence the conditions of his/her existence to a central position (rather than the worker or the consumer who are addressees in the common market dispositive). This relates to the question not only of how European citizenship can be re-imagined and further developed, but also what structural role it can play in reforming European institutions.

Further information
Closed event. For further information please contact Professor Sandra Seubert (

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