Dreaming the ordinary: Daily life and the complex geographies of citizenship

Lynn A. Staeheli, Patricia Ehrkamp, Helga Leitner, Caroline R. Nagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


This paper introduces the concept of 'ordinary' to analyze citizenship's complexities. Ordinary is often taken to mean standard or routine, but it also invokes order and authority. Conceptualizing citizenship as ordinary trains our attention on the ways in which the spatiality of laws and social norms are entwined with daily life. The idea of ordinariness fuses legal structures, normative orders and the experiences of individuals, social groups and communities, making citizenship both a general category and a contingent resource for political life. We explore this argument using immigrants as an example, but the conceptualization of citizenship extends more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-644
Number of pages17
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • citizenship
  • daily life
  • law
  • ordinary
  • social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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