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Citizenship without community : time, design and the city.

Closs Stephens, A. (2010) 'Citizenship without community : time, design and the city.', Citizenship studies., 14 (1). pp. 31-46.


This article engages with the concept of design as a way of re-working the standard understanding of citizenship as what takes place within a political community. In doing so, the paper draws on recent attempts to rethink citizenship as ‘acts’ rather than status (Isin & Nielsen, 2008) and seeks to bring that work together with attempts at reimagining community as ‘encounters’ and ‘confrontations’ rather than that which is contained within a bounded space (Nancy, 1991, 2003). Specifically, the paper argues for an approach that is attentive to ideas of time and seeks to open up an idea of community that avoids the requirement of commonality. Using a focus on citizenship as a temporal phenomenon, the article suggests that designers have engaged with ideas of time as multiple, fragmented and splintered, and that these form useful material for reworking ideas of community beyond something that can be calculated. The article offers a study of two sites of memory drawn from the city of Berlin, Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum and Peter Eisenmann’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and an art installation by the artist Gustav Metzger called ‘Flailing Trees’, exhibited at the Manchester International Festival of 2009. Gathering material offered by these designs, and a tradition of writing the city as a splintered social space, the article explores the different forms of community that circulate and are instantiated at these ‘sites of memory’ and argues for an understanding of community without unity.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:City, Community, Time, Design, Citizenship.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Citizenship Studies on 18/02/2010, available online at:
Record Created:15 Jan 2010 13:50
Last Modified:03 Nov 2014 11:02

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