«Enacting European Citizenship edited by Engin F. Isin and Michael Saward cambridge university press Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape ...»
¯ 2010: 19–23). Such actions work both with iterability and creativity. While certain repertoires of action are available as known and repeated repertoires (iterability), once these actions combine to create effects of an act, the Claiming European citizenship 33 consequences are unpredictable, creative and unforeseen. In fact, many actions involving much planning and foresight may not even become an act unless various conditions come together to create site effects. On 8 June 2008, Roma and Sinti people came out of camps and took to the streets of Rome, initially gathering in front of the Colosseum. The actions they engaged in were assembled into a creative act only when they spoke as political subjects (Aradau et al. 2010: 4). When in 2009 a group of Roma occupied Görlitzer Park and Bethanien House, it required many actions by activists – Roma as well their advocates – to organise, plan, negotiate and implement these occupations and engage in publicity by writing letters and ˘ petitions (Çaglar and Mehling 2009: 8–9). Yet, these actions coalesce into an act only when they articulate a speech that demands to be heard and a political subjectivity that demands to be recognised. This may require spontaneous and creative actions such as interrupting the opening of an exhibition as a way of intensifying a situation and creating site effects ˘ (Çaglar and Mehling 2009: 10).
Enacting citizenship through bodies such as courts requires different actions. The fact that more than 20,000 cases were brought to the ECtHR by Kurds, women and others against the Turkish state between 1998 and 2006 is a testament to the constitution of European citizenship as political subjectivity. It requires considerable energy and skills to bring these cases to court, not to mention courage in the face of harassment by state authorities aiming to impede them (Isyar et al.
2009a: 19, 31; Kancı et al. 2010: 23). Similarly, all those individual litigants taking states to the ECJ as third country nationals begin the passage from individual subjectivity to collective subjectivity (Carrera and Atger 2010; Carrera and Merlino 2008; Mantu 2010b: 22). What coalesces these actions into an act of citizenship? Again, their novelty and creativity may not be in the action of taking the state to a human rights court. But taken together all other actions such as framing issues, negotiating audiences, launching publicity, demonstrating, protesting and holding forums eventually create a declaration that constitutes a subject – individual or collective – as a political subject without prior authorisation. The act of declaration produces two political subjects simultaneously: a subject with speciﬁc claims and a subject with the right to have rights.
34 Engin F. Isin Sites and places and times As mentioned earlier, bodies in action produce condensed and intense social relations in particular settings. These settings are sites of contestation or struggle around which certain issues, interests and stakes as well as themes, concepts and objects assemble. While sites are spatial they are not merely locations or places. To put it another way, sites are places or locations only insofar as social or political struggles invest these places or locations with strategic values expressed symbolically or materially. All locations or places will have values or meanings associated with them but what renders a location or place into a site is its strategic value for the struggle for rights that is the basis of enacting citizenship. Thus sites are always both temporal and temporary. Consider how a Greek waqf (foundation) in Turkey becomes entangled with the ECtHR when a Turkish daily Hürriyet declares ‘Citizen Dimitri’ to be a virtuous Turkish citizen for not taking the state to a European court (Isyar et al. 2009b: 32). Both the foundation and the court become entangled as sites through which the meaning of Turkish and European citizenship becomes contested.
In a similar vein, the Colosseum in Rome is not a site for the struggle of Roma for their political subjectivity when it is not occupied by them. It is their presence that renders that location or place into a site of struggle and contestation, investing it with strategic value (Aradau et al. 2010: 6). That presence is necessarily temporal (at a particular time) and temporary (it only existed when Roma were present). That site can be later remembered as the actual site where an act was staged; but then it will be virtual. The strategic value invested in a place that makes it a site of contestation becomes clear when sex workers present their declaration to the European Parliament to remind us that it is a site of democracy (Andrijasevic et al. 2010: 10). This reminder serves to illustrate the point that while democratic institutions may embody democratic ideals their effectiveness requires actualisation and enactment. Thus that place was made into a site of contestation by making us remember its place in European democracy. The Görlitzer Park, the Bethanien House, the Church and the Asylum Seekers’ shelter at the Motardstrasse became sites only when the Roma and their advocates ˘ made use of them as a strategic space of contestation (Çaglar and Mehling 2009: 15). Likewise, the decision to mount a court challenge to the status of ˘ Roma in Berlin rendered the court a judicial site of contestation (Çaglar and Mehling 2009: 24). A human rights NGO, the Mahatma Gandhi Foundation, and an evangelical, largely Nigerian, church, the New Covenant Church, also became sites only when they were invested with strategic value in claiming rights when such prior authorisation or convention did not exist (Rajaram and Arendas 2009: 7).
Claiming European citizenship 35 We have already seen how Kurdish citizens have invested the ECtHR with a strategic value through which to claim rights (Isyar et al. 2009a: 18). The ¸ struggle of Leyla Sahin to wear her headscarf in a university, for example, rendered the spaces of the university (lecture halls, corridors, classrooms) a site of contestation (Kancı et al. 2010: 22). When serving in the military becomes contested, those who contest it face imprisonment and harassment.
This happened when, for example, conscientious objectors claimed rights that they do not have either as Turkish citizens (the constitution does not recognise conscientious objection) or as EU citizens by taking the Turkish state to the ECtHR (Isyar et al. 2010: 28, 30).
Scales and jurisdictions and authorities As mentioned earlier, sites and scales are not mutually exclusive but related elements of acts. So when investigating an act, it is always appropriate to consider their relations through which various actions enact acts.
Sometimes it is necessary to use site-scales together and sometimes sites and scales as separate attributes depending on the speciﬁc situation under investigation. As noted earlier, sites and scales are central categories because we want to avoid using already existing ones. These are jurisdictions: territorialised authority. By contrast, when we begin with ‘sites’ and ‘scales’ as ﬂuid and dynamic elements that are formed through contest and struggle, their boundaries become a question of empirical determination.
When, for example, Mantu investigates deprivation of citizenship in the UK, she notes that the very institution of ‘British citizenship’ itself included British citizens, British overseas territories citizens, British overseas citizens, British nationals (overseas), British protected persons and British subjects (Mantu 2008: 13). British citizenship already institutes multiple sites and scales and its deprivation constitutes various subject categories appropriate to those sites and scales. A major scale issue that is created by deprivation, and yet remains unrecognised, is that when member states deprive their citizens (who were previously third country nationals) of their status, they automatically deprive them also of their European Union citizenship (Mantu 2008: 25, 2010a: 23). Yet, the Council of Europe provides a potential recourse through ECtHR. This indicates that despite the increasing attempts by member states to expand their powers to deprive citizens of their citizenship, it is no longer possible for them to exercise sovereign power without limits (Mantu 2009: 29).
We have seen that sites are places that are invested with strategic value through struggles to claim rights. Scale is a signiﬁcant concept for the investigation of acts as it indicates the reach and scope of various actions assembled and interpreted as acts. Especially when considered in 36 Engin F. Isin conjunction with the phrase ‘staging an act’, the reach and scope of the act staged determines its effects. Often, when we say that certain actions exceed their intentions, this signiﬁes the shifting scale of these actions and how they challenge the authorities and conventions that make them possible. Thus the scale of an act – its reach, scope etc. – becomes a crucial element of its effects. When sex workers staged their act of declaration in Brussels and Strasbourg, its scale was simultaneously European and beyond European, as it borrowed a repertoire from ‘declarations’ of intent and rights that covered the French Revolution and universal human rights. Thus it exceeded the arrangements that would have given authority and convention to the act (Andrijasevic et al. 2010: 9, 11). When gays and lesbians mobilised for the pride parade, they were also aware that they were mobilising for more than making an effect in Riga or Latvia; they were constituting themselves, or enjoining themselves into an already constituted subjectivity, as political subjects at a European scale (Kru ma ¯ et al. 2010: 13).
Ambiguities and paradoxes So far the analytical description provided – of subjects, acts, sites and scales – may give the impression of a mechanical style of thought, a new kind of methodological empiricism that shifts the focus from arrangements to enactments in studying citizenship as political subjectivity. Yet, in one important respect, investigating acts of citizenship as enactments is about investigating the ambiguities and paradoxes to which these acts give rise. In other words, when we investigate certain actions as acts of citizenship, there are always uncertain relationships, undecidable consequences and contradictions that implicate and complicate both the categories of subjects (i.e. citizens, strangers, outsiders, aliens) and the categories through which these subjects are enacted (i.e. sites, scales). These ambiguities and paradoxes arise precisely because acts of citizenship articulate questions about relations of domination and emancipation. Rather than deﬁning citizenship as membership, we deﬁned it earlier as a dynamic and relational institution of domination and emancipation that governs who citizens (insiders), strangers, outsiders and abjects (aliens) are and how these subjects are to govern themselves and each other in a given body politic. So far we have seen several examples of these enactments of European citizenship, such as third country nationals, non-citizens, non-Muslims, youth, Roma, Sinti, Kurds, sex workers, gays and lesbians and those whose citizenship status is called into question by states. Acts of citizenship enable us to understand what these relations are in a given Claiming European citizenship 37 moment and situation. But how do we recognise that certain actions are acts of citizenship and that they are indeed acts and not practices?
Rupture and rights Two concepts, rupture and rights, are crucial for providing answers to those questions. Once again let us return to Butler’s formulation: an act of citizenship is that ‘... moment in which a subject asserts a right or entitlement to a liveable life when no such prior authorization exists, when no clearly enabling convention is in place’. But what are the conditions of possibility of such an assertion that renders a body into a subject? The issue of the absence of prior authorisation and the absence of enabling convention becomes problematic here. When Kurdish, non-Muslim and women citizens in Turkey take cases to the ECtHR, in one respect they are performing acts of citizenship where there is no prior authorisation or convention (Kancı et al. 2010: 21). Similarly, when non-citizens in Latvia protest against restrictions to labour markets, they may be said to act without authorisation or convention (Kru ma and Inda ns 2009; Kru ma ¯ ¯ ¯ et al. 2008). But this can be said only of their acts at a given scale. Through their claims they are shifting the scale (scope and reach) of their assertion and making a claim to a court whose authority is already established.
Thus, the issue here is less the absence of prior authorisation and more the shifting the scale of an act and the site of its enactment. In a signiﬁcant sense, prior authorisation always exists because of the iterability of acts and their accumulated effects over long periods of time. These acts become repertoires of action precisely in this sense of their knowability by virtue of their iterability. As Carrera and Atger argue, when confronted by illiberal practices in their own states, people mount challenges in the European legal system which constitutes them as European citizens (Kru ma and Inda ns 2009: 25). When Latvians in Ireland express a desire ¯ ¯ for voting rights, for example, they are asking for rights that they do not have (Baltruka et al. 2009: 13). Yet, again, since the evidence shows that they have not acted on that demand (Baltruka et al. 2009: 13), we can argue that they articulate a demand by shifting the scale of their identity rather than asserting an entitlement without prior authorisation.
Similarly, when sex workers declared their rights by an appeal to equality, they were enacting a right that did not yet exist at a given scale (Andrijasevic et al. 2010: 18).