Acts of Citizenship by Engin F. Isin

By Engin F. Isin

This e-book introduces the concept that "acts of citizenship" as a way to re-orientate the best way citizenship reports has been investigated over the past decade. The authors argue that investigating acts of citizenship in phrases irreducible to both prestige or perform, whereas nonetheless valuing this contrast, calls for a spotlight on these moments and tactics wherein matters represent themselves as voters. Their research includes a sustained engagement with interdisciplinary inspiration, drawing from new advancements not just in politics, sociology, geography and anthropology but additionally psychoanalysis, philosophy and background.

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Acts involve accomplishments, with moments when they start and end, but they also have continuity within themselves. They accrete over time. While Ware’s is a welcome argument for making a distinction between acts and action, it falls short of articulating this distinction as ontological isin&nielsen01 24 / 2/1/08 10:22 Page 24 PA R T I : P O L I T I C S , E T H I C S , A E S T H E T I C S difference. Thus, he also conflates acts and action by interchanging them several times with contradictory results.

613). As Arendt puts it rather evocatively, ‘[T]he human heart is the only thing in the world that will take upon itself the burden that the divine gift of action, of being a beginning and therefore being able to make a beginning, has placed upon us’ (Arendt 2005, p. 322). To act, then, is neither arriving at a scene nor fleeing from it, but actually engaging in its creation. With that creative act the actor also creates herself/himself as the agent responsible for the scene created. To maintain a distinction between acts and action and acts and habitus requires isolating acts as those entities that create a scene by involving actors who remain at the scene.

Granted, for subjects to become claimants they must have been embodying certain practices. Take, for example, the civil rights or feminist movements. Both developed over a relatively long period of time various resistance practices ranging from folklore, theatre or music to social and political networks. But both movements transformed subjects into claimants of rights over a relatively short period of time through various acts that were symbolically isin&nielsen01 18 / 2/1/08 10:22 Page 18 PA R T I : P O L I T I C S , E T H I C S , A E S T H E T I C S and materially constitutive.

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