Dilemmas of Citizenship and Evolving Civic Activism in Denmark

  • Birte Siim
  • Susi Meret
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)


The Danish chapter by Birte Siim and Susi Meret explores dilemmas of citizenship by looking at the ways rightwing populism has been countered by mobilizations against exclusionary and discriminating Danish policies. The theoretical and methodological approach is inspired by scholarly literature reframing citizenship, democracy, and social movement theory to reflect critically upon the dilemmas of differentiated citizenship, civic activism, and participation in Danish politics and society. The analysis focuses on the goals, strategies, and motivations of diverse civil society associations, pro-migrant and refugee groups, and self-organized movements actively fighting against discrimination, racism, and othering. Key questions are: Who are the actors involved? What are their claims? What forms of activism do they practice? How do they cooperate? What are the perspectives of these movements and what are the results of their activities?


Exclusionary welfare nationalism Learning democracy Nationalism/nativism Activist citizenship Everyday activism Acts of friendship Claims for rights Equality Social justice 


  1. Arendt, H. (1951). The origin of totalitarianism. New York: Schocken Books.Google Scholar
  2. Arendt, H. (1958). The human condition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bauböck, R. (2006). Citizenship and migration: Concepts and controversies. In R. Bauboeck (Ed.), Migration and citizenship: Legal status, rights and political participation, IMISCOE reports (pp. 15–32). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Betz, H.-G. (2017). Nativism across time and space. Swiss Political Science Review.
  5. Betz, H.-G., & Meret, S. (2012). Right-wing populist parties and the working class vote: What have you done for us lately? In J. Rydgren (Ed.), Class politics and the radical right. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Borre, O. (2016). Tyve år med værdipolitik. In Fra krisevalg til jordskredsvalg. Vælgere på vandring 2011–2015. Frederiksberg: Frydenlund Academic.Google Scholar
  7. Brochmann, G., & Hagelund, A. (2012). Immigration policies and the Scandinavian welfare states 1945–2010. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. della Porta, D. (2013). Can democracy be saved? Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  9. della Porta, D. (2015). Social movements in times of austerity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  10. della Porta, D., & Caiani, M. (2010). Social movements and Europeanization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. della Porta, D., & Mattoni, A. (Eds.). (2014). Spreading protest: Social movements in times of crisis. Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
  12. Fenger-Grøndal, M. (2017). Venligboerne – historien om en bevægelse [The friendly neighbors – The story about a movement]. København: Bibelselskabets Selskab.Google Scholar
  13. Fraser, N. (2013). Fortunes of feminism: From state-managed capitalism to neoliberal crisis. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  14. Galligan, Y. (2015). States of democracy: Gender and politics in the European Union. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Isin, E. (2009). Citizenship in the flux. Subjectivity, 19, 367–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Isin, E. (2012). Citizens without frontiers. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  17. Isin, E., & Turner, B. (2007). Investigating citizenship: An agenda for citizenship studies. Citizenship Studies, 11, 5–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Korsgaard, O. (2004). Kampen om folket. Et dannelsesperspektiv på folkets historie i 500 år. Copenhagen: Gyldendal.Google Scholar
  19. Lazaridis, G., & Campani, G. (Eds.). (2017). Understanding the populist shift. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Lazaridis, G., Campani, G., & Benveniste, A. (Eds.). (2016). The rise of the far right in Europe: Populist shifts and “othering”. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  21. Meret, S. (2010). The Danish people’s party, the Italian northern league and the Austrian freedom party in a comparative perspective: Party ideology and electoral support. In SPIRIT PhD series. Aalborg: Aalborg University.Google Scholar
  22. Meret, S., & Siim, B. (2013). Gender, populism and politics of belonging: Discourses of rightwing populist parties in Denmark, Norway and Austria. In B. Siim & M. Mokre (Eds.), Negotiating gender and diversity in an emerging European public sphere. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  23. Messel, K. M. B. (2016). My house, your house. On recognition, autonomy, and membership in communities of Danes and refugees. Master thesis, Global Refugee Studies, Aalborg University.Google Scholar
  24. Mikkelsen, F. (Ed.). (2002). Bevægelser og demokrati. Kollektive bevægelser og foreninger i Danmark. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Monforte, P., & Dufour, P. (2011). Mobilizing in borderline citizenship regimes: A comparative analysis of undocumented migrants’ collective actions. Politics & Society, 39, 203–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mouritsen, P. (2015). En plads i verden. Det moderne medborgerskab. København: Gyldendal.Google Scholar
  27. Siim, B. (2013). Citizenship. In G. Waylen, K. Celis, J. Kantola, & S. L. Weldon (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of gender and politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Siim B., & Meret, S. (2013). State of the art. Literature review: Danish populism. National Report from the RAGE-project (WS 1). Aalborg: Aalborg University.Google Scholar
  29. Siim, B., & Meret, S. (2016). Right-wing populism in Denmark: People, nation and welfare in the construction of the ‘other’. In G. Lazarides, A. Benveniste, & G. Campani (Eds.), The rise of the far right: Populist shifts and othering. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. Siim, B., & Mokre, M. (Eds.). (2013). Negotiating gender and diversity in an emergent European public sphere. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  31. Siim B., Fulgsang Larsen, J. & Meret, S. (2013). Danish populism: Hate speech and populist othering. Analysis of Interviews. Report from the Rage project (WS1). Aalborg: Aalborg University.Google Scholar
  32. Siim, B., Fuglsang Larsen, J., & Meret, S. (2014, May). State of the art. Militants from the other side. Anti-bodies to hate-speech and behavior in Denmark. National Report from the RAGE project (WS3). Aalborg: Aalborg University.Google Scholar
  33. Siim B., Fuglsang Larsen, J., & Meret, S. (2015). Militants from the other side: Anti-bodies to hate-speech and behavior in Denmark: Analysis of focus group interviews (WS3). Aalborg: Aalborg University.Google Scholar
  34. Widfeldt, A. (2015). Extreme right parties in Scandinavia. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Wodak, R. (2015). Politics of fear: What right wing populist discourses mean. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yuval-Davis, N. (2011). The politics of belonging: Intersectional contestations. London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birte Siim
    • 1
  • Susi Meret
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Culture and Global StudiesAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

Personalised recommendations