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"Cultural Citizenship" - Jan Pakulski

"Cultural Citizenship" - Jan Pakulski

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Published by Kate Zen
Definition of cultural citizenship by Jan Paluski:

Cultural citizenship includes the right to presence and visibility rather than marginalisation; the right to dignifying representation rather than stigmatisation; the right to identity and maintenance of lifestyle rather then assimilation to the dominant culture.
Definition of cultural citizenship by Jan Paluski:

Cultural citizenship includes the right to presence and visibility rather than marginalisation; the right to dignifying representation rather than stigmatisation; the right to identity and maintenance of lifestyle rather then assimilation to the dominant culture.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Kate Zen on Mar 23, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Recent debates within cultural studies and citizenship studies might suggestthat culture and citizenship have little in common. The term ‘culture’ is usuallyassociated with a mix of public and private institutions, including museums,libraries, schools, cinemas and the media, while more specifically beingconnected with the dialogic production of meaning and aesthetics througha variety of practices. Citizenship, on the other hand, is more often thoughtto be about membership, belonging, rights and obligations. In institutionalterms the terrain of citizenship is usually marked out by abstract legaldefinitions as to who is to be included and excluded from the political com-munity. Yet whether we are talking about the risk society, network capitalismor the concerns of social movements, ideas of symbolic challenge and exclusionremain central.The power to name, construct meaning and exert control over the flow of information within contemporary societies is one of today’s central structuraldivisions. Power is not solely based upon material dimensions, but also involvesthe capacity to throw into question established codes and to rework frameworksof common understanding. This means that the locus of cultural citizenshipwill have to occupy positions both inside and outside the formal structuresof administrative power. To talk of cultural citizenship means that we takequestions of rights and responsibilities far beyond the technocratic agendasof mainstream politics and media. That is to say, we seek to form an appreci-ation of the ways in which ‘ordinary’ understandings become constructed, of issues of interpretative conflict and semiotic plurality more generally. In otherwords, how do questions of entitlement and duty relate to the diversity of culture evident within everyday life, and what is the relationship between an
society and the practice of politics? What modes of exclusion become apparent within an information society?These concerns point to an age where our de
nitions of citizenship andsociety more generally are being transformed. Which community we oweour loyalties to, what foods are safe to eat, how important is the nation asopposed to more global concerns and how I might decide upon my sexuality allincreasingly involve cultural questions. How we address these issues will dependupon shifting discourses and narratives that have become available to us in avariety of social contexts. As Castells (1997: 359) puts it, the
sites of this powerare people
s minds
. Indeed, one of the central issues the book will seek toaddress is how we might provide fertile ground for what I shall call the cosmo-politan imagination. Many in the social sciences have neglected the idea of theimagination. Castoriadis (1997) has argued that all societies are dependentupon the creation of webs of meaning that are carried by society
s institutionsand individuals. Society, then, is always a self-creation that depends uponnorms, values and languages that help to give diverse societies a sense of unity.The
is a social and historical creation, and serves to remind us thatsociety must always create symbolic forms beyond the purely functional.Cosmopolitanism is a way of viewing the world that among other thingsdispenses with national exclusivity, dichotomous forms of gendered and racialthinking and rigid separations between culture and nature. Such a sensibilitywould be open to the new spaces of political and ethical engagement thatseeks to appreciate the ways in which humanity is mixed into intercultural waysof life. Arguably, cosmopolitan thinking is concerned with the transgressionof boundaries and markers, and the development of an inclusive culturaldemocracy and citizenship. Yet cosmopolitanism is not only concerned withintermixing and the ethical relations between the self and the other, butseeks an institutional and political grounding in the context of shared globalproblems. A concern for cosmopolitan dimensions will inevitably seek todevelop an understanding of the discourses, codes and narratives that makesuch political understandings a possibility. As Lawrence Grossberg (1992: 64)has argued,
no democratic political struggle can be effectively organized with-out the power of the popular
. However, before moving on to such questionsit is important to try to understand how issues of culture and citizenshipbecame caught up with each other. Here I will argue that we need to considerthe development of questions of cultural citizenship within the contours of ashared information society. The emergence of such a society requires not onlythat we rethink our notions of culture and citizenship, but also that we seek todevelop a new understanding of contemporary social transformations.
T. H. Marshall and Raymond Williams: a cultural citizenship?
The idea of citizenship evokes a political tradition that is concerned to debatethe involvement of individuals in shaping the laws and decisions of society. Ithas, however, only been in modern times that this has come to include peopleoutside of a narrow class of educated property owners. While
has come to mean something different in, say, Iran, Chile and Britain, hereI want to concentrate upon the meanings that have become connected to theterm in North America and Europe. More recently, it has been the under-standings that have become connected to the late T. H. Marshall
s (1992) book
Citizenship and Social Class
that have had the greatest impact on ongoingdebates.T. H. Marshall (1992), as is well known, was concerned with the historicaldevelopment of civil, political and social rights in the British national con-text. Marshall drew attention to the contradiction between the formations of capitalism and class, and the principle of equality enshrined within the grantingof basic rights. Such a view of citizenship was hardly surprising given thatMarshall was writing in the 1940s and 1950s, when identity and social con
ictswere dominated by class. The setting up of the welfare state, the possibility of full male employment, the nuclear family, the dominance of the nation-stateand the separation between an elite literary culture and a popular mass cultureall inform his dimensions of citizenship. Marshall perceived that the principleof civil and political rights had been granted in the eighteenth and nineteenthcenturies, whereas the twentieth century had seen the acceptance of the idea of social rights.As many of Marshall
s critics have pointed out, however, questions of civiland political rights are far from settled, and social rights were threatened oncethe post-war compromise between capital and labour came under attack (Roche1994). Further, Turner (1994) argues that the postmodernization of culture andthe globalization of politics have rendered much of the literature in respectof citizenship inadequate. The attack on traditional divisions between highand low culture poses serious questions in terms of the common or nationalcultures that might be transmitted by public institutions. The diversi
cationand fragmentation of public tastes and lifestyles have undermined a previouslyassumed
consensus. Further, the development of transnationalspheres of governance, instantaneous news and global networks among newsocial movements has questioned the assumed connection between citizenshipand the nation-state. These processes undermine, or at least call into question,the correspondence that citizenship has traditionally drawn between belongingand the nation-state. Marshall
s analysis
while still in
fails to locatethe state within a complex web of international
ows and relations, while

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