Sandra Seubert





Resident at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
2018‒2023 (Goethe Fellow)

Research topic at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:
»From Protection to Empowerment: Perspectives of European Citizenship«

Project outline:
The institution of EU citizenship carries an unredeemed promise – simply associating the idea of citizenship with the European Union is enough to create expectations of a potential transformation of the EU into a political order whose constituent elements are no longer only the member states. The project will ask how EU citizenship can change from an instrument of political legitimization into a vital institution and lived social practice. A discourse that shifts from protection to empowerment reveals that citizenship is not a status that can be transferred to subjects by an »enlightened monarch« – the European heads of state or the European Commission that they authorize. A redefinition of European citizenship involves a shift of focus – from the protection of rights, which in present conditions are still primarily the rights of economically active, mobile citizens, to the empowerment of politically active citizens with the ability and desire to influence the conditions of their lives. In conditions of increasing inequality in Europe – among member states and regions but primarily among social groups – the right to freedom of movement as the nucleus of European citizenship is a double-edged promise – simultaneously a chance and an imposition. Based on this nucleus, how can European citizenship be re-imagined and revived? (Sandra Seubert)

FKH video
Sandra Seubert presents her research project »From Protection to Empowerment: Perspectives of European Citizenship« in a FKH video. The video was created during the lockdown to contain the corona pandemic in spring 2020. Please watch the video here.

Scholarly profile of Sandra Seubert


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«. In 2019/20 she was a visiting professor at the university Sciences Po in Paris.

Selected publications:
  1. (ed. with Oliver Eberl and Frans van Waarden), Reconsidering European Citizenship. Contradictions and Constraints, Edward Elgar 2018.
  2. »Antinomies of European Citizenship. On the Conflictual Passage of a Transnational Membership Regime«, in: Jürgen Mackert/Brian Turner (eds.), The Transformation of Citizenship, Bd. 3: Boundaries of Inclusion and Exclusion, Routledge 2017, p. 135-151.