CFP: "Citizen"

Citizen is a word we hear more frequently
all the time, but it's also one whose meaning has never seemed less clear. "Citizen journalists" and "e-citizenship" initiatives are everywhere, but so are signs of crisis in democratic institutions and processes.

The online tools used to promote new forms of active citizenship are products of an era where the traditional focus of citizenship - the nation - seems far less powerful and important than ever in the face of global flows of capital, communication and culture. The exhortations to pursue new forms of political engagement - like public affairs blogging and citizen journalism - can only be read alongside the mounting evidence of a widespread disengagement from politics. It's not clear whether or how democratic institutions can (or ought to) adapt themselves to the changing modes of participation. And it's also unclear whether the online spaces given over to political debate do anything more than further polarize our conversations. But can institutions and an increasingly diverse online public sphere change and adapt to one another to renew democratic participation?

For this edition of M/C Journal, we're looking for pieces that weigh up the impact of new forms of political participation. We'd especially like to encourage articles that reflect on concrete attempts to increase participation in the political process, and to promote citizenship. Whether you'd like to reflect on an initiative you've participated in, or link theory with interesting examples of media practice and activism, we'd like to feature your contribution.