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Paradoxes of Citizenship




Admissions requirements

Successful completion of GC: Diversity


Citizenship is a fascinating yet contested idea: on the one hand, it has developed as a mechanism of polity formation and integration, empowering and legitimizing the nation-state as privileged form of political organization. On the other hand, it has worked, and it is still working, as mechanism of exclusion and control over increasingly mobile and mixed populations. Citizenship is a formal status (derived from nationality), but also a set of in/formal practices that coordinate and accommodate our social life. What are the basis of this apparent paradoxes between inclusion and exclusion, formal status and informal practices?

As members of any nation-state we expect to be recognized as citizens; yet this membership entails various collateral forms of exclusion, in a world increasingly segmented despite it’s obvious globalization and interdependence. In this course we examine the paradoxes of citizenship through various lenses, both in terms of the inclusion/exclusion dynamics it triggers, as well as the (dis)connection existing between the formal status citizenship implies and the necessary practices it requires of us to live in society.

Course objectives

This course main objective is to trigger in students a reflexive practice regarding their own status, role and performance as citizen, at local and global levels. The course is designed as a deliberate process to unsettle existing presuppositions regarding what is conceived as a “normal” citizen, appealing to the students capacity to think and imagine what kind of citizenship is necessary in contemporary world.

Following from this objective, the learning aims of this course are twofold:

  • In terms of content, to develop a critical capacity to reflect about who is, who should be, who can be a citizen, and how can you become one (conversely, we will discuss also who is not, should not, and cannot be considered a citizen).

  • In terms of skills, to develop the ability to talk about, debate and examine the ordinary dimensions of citizenship in relation to current affairs in a creative and respectful manner.


Once available, timetables will be published in the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

Two weekly seminars form the main body of the course. Roughly, the organization of the seminars is based on a general discussion on key questions from the readings (based on students input through QQIs) followed by a mini-lecture presenting the key concepts and theoretical perspectives of that particular unit. From week 3 onwards the second part of the seminar is based on student presentations of concrete case-studies and general debate.


  • Participation (QQI – Question-Quote-Image) 15%

  • Disclaimer reflection “I, the citizen” 10%

  • Case-study presentation – 20%

  • Case-study report – 15%

  • Individual final essay 40%

Please note:

  • In accordance with article 4.8 of the Course and Examination Regulations (OER), within 30 days after the publication of grades, the instructor will provide students the opportunity to inspect their exams/coursework.

  • There is a no re-sit policy at Leiden University College.


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

The reading list will be available on Blackboard before the beginning of the course.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Daniela Vicherat Mattar