Mediated Acts of Citizenship: A Postcolonial Perspective

Bolette Blaagaard*, Sandra Ponzanesi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter explores mediated acts of citizenship from a postcolonial perspective and how this intervention renders the actors “citizen subjects” (Balibar, Cahiers Confrontations 20:33–57, 1989) if not citizens by law. Acts of citizenship “disrupt habitus, create new possibilities, claim rights and impose obligations in emotionally charged tones … and shift established practices, status and order” (Isin and Nielsen, Acts of citizenship, Zed Books, 2008, p. 10). These acts may be produced in citizen media, which “encompass the physical artefacts, digital content, practices, performative interventions and discursive formations of affective sociality” (Baker and Blaagaard, Citizen media and public spaces, Routledge, 2016, p. 16). Postcolonial critique and citizen media have several lines of inquiry in common, such as the political possibilities of vernacular expressions through creativity as conceptualised by Paul Gilroy (The black Atlantic, Verso Books, 1993), counter-readings of societal and cultural practices and border-thinking (Mignolo, Confero 1:129–150, 2013). Like citizen media, postcolonial critique produces counter-publics (Fraser, Habermas and the public sphere, MIT Press, 1991; Warner, Public Culture 14:49–90, 2002) that in themselves are diverse and changing (Squires, Communication Theory 12:446–468, 2002) and subaltern subjectivities (Spivak, Marxism and the interpretation of culture, University of Illinois Press, 1988; Sandoval, Methodology of the oppressed, University of Minnesota Press, 2000). Presenting illustrative cases of postcolonial acts of citizenship through citizen media, the chapter investigates the intersections, overlaps and gaps between, on the one hand, postcolonial critique and citizen media and, on the other hand, acts of citizenship and counter-publics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Gender and Citizenship
EditorsBirte Siim, Pauline Stoltz
Place of Publicationlondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-57144-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-57146-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024


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