23003 Citizens
The Journey Embassy


Insurgent citizenship

Occupy Everything Photo: DJKevinJames

Occupy Everything Photo: DJKevinJames

Coined by anthropologist James Holston in 1998, the term 'insurgent citizenship' has become more widely used over the past year in relation to the emergence of citizen uprisings which can be seen to have begun with the Arab Spring (الربيع العربي‎) on Saturday,18 December 2010.

The Occupy movement, which began in New York City's Zuccotti Park on September 17, 2011, now has representation in over half of the world’s nations. Insurgent citizenship in this instance can be seen to have emerged from a specific set of social conditions, and the need to generate alternative future political, economic and social structures.

Journalist Laurie Penny voyaged to the High Arctic as part of the Nowhereisland Arctic Expedition. She has been an active supporter and reporter of the Occupy movement. Watch her discussing Occupy Wall Street on the Democracy channel here.

And for a consideration of the Occupy LSX movement in London three months on, read Laurie Penny's summary here.

We can think of citizenship of Nowhereisland as being insurgent; as arising from the necessity to find new forms of identification that can overcome the limitations of conventional national citizenships.


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Nowhereisland is a Situations project led by artist Alex Hartley, one of 12 Artist Taking the Lead projects for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad funded by Arts Council England. We also gratefully acknowledge the support of the University of the West of England, Bristol; Bloomberg; Nicky Wilson Jupiter Artland; the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Royal Norwegian Embassy and Yellowbrick Tracking.

Identity designed by Fraser Muggeridge studio and Wolfram Wiedner, website by Wolfram Wiedner.