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‘The agendas of cultural citizenship’ – some notes

December 31, 2012

Just some notes on cultural citizenship from a book edited by Judith Vega and Pieter Boele van Hensbroek:

To talk about cultural citizenship means to articulate some kind of link between culture and citizenship.” (p.1)

The often muddy debates of multiculturalism prove that the concept of culture has become framed in a directly political way. In many instances, […] to inject ‘culture’ into discussions of politics and citizenship obfuscates more than it elucidates […]. Still, there are many respects in which the notion of cultural citizenship offers a specific and important angle for considering the various issues. We think this is especially the case when the generic civic dimensions of that notion are kept in view, and when we refrain from funnelling it into a mere ‘multicultural’ application.
Culture has become a new field of contestation both nationally and globally. To think about this field from the perspective of citizenship means choosing an explicitly normative perspective on these debates. We take this to be the main import of the concept of cultural citizenship. This does not mean that the concept as such necessarily implies a social ideal – it may well be seen as a descriptive or analytical tool with no substantive normative charge as such.” (p.2)

Ref: Judith Vega and Pieter Boele van Hensbroek ‘Introduction: The agendas of cultural citizenship: a political-theoretical exercise’ pp.1- 13 in Eds. Judith Vega and Pieter Boele van Hensbroek (2012) Cultural Citizenship in Political Theory. Routledge: London and New York.

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