Citizen cultures and cultural citizenship. An exploration of the terms

Received: May 27, 2019

Acceptance: October 10, 2019


This text reviews the relationship between citizenship and culture. Exploring social science literature on these terms to analyze particular social subjects, both in their action and their conceptualization, has led us to consider that citizenships are diverse, heterogenous and with unequal positions in regard to other citizens and in their relationship with the sphere of the State. Each group of citizens lives and models its social action based on its own identity configurations, codes and cultural dispositions, all of which are affected by power, gender, class and ethnicity relations. Citizenships express -through their actions, emotions, and thoughts - the social, political, economic and cultural diversity of our contemporary conflictive societies. Two considerations develop in this text: first, the discussion is addressed from citizen practices; a second look highlights the cultural dimension that these practices express about specific citizen rights.

Keywords: , , , ,

Citizen cultures and cultural citizenship. An exploration of the terms

This text reviews the relationship between citizenship and culture. Exploring social science literature on these terms to analyze particular social subjects, both in their action and their conceptualization, has led us to consider that citizenships are diverse, heterogenous and with unequal positions in regard to other citizens and in their relationship with the sphere of the State. Each group of citizens lives and models its social action based on its own identity configurations, codes and cultural dispositions, all of which are affected by power, gender, class and ethnicity relations. Citizenships express -through their actions, emotions, and thoughts - the social, political, economic and cultural diversity of our contemporary conflictive societies. Two considerations develop in this text: first, the discussion is addressed from citizen practices; a second look highlights the cultural dimension that these practices express about specific citizen rights.

Keywords: citizenship, culture, politics, rights, globalization.

The relationship between citizenship (s) + culture (s)

To start by distinguishing between citizenship and culture is a necessary but uncertain step, since both terms carry polysemic definitions, whose dynamism in their characterization has been evident in recent years among analysts who inquire about the processes of sociocultural change. It will not be the same to start with the best-known combination of the concepts of the so-called “citizen culture” than with a more recent theoretical-methodological alternative for the description and analysis of citizenship in its cultural dimension (Miller, 2002; Hermes, 2006 ; Nivón, 2014).

This distinction is not reduced to an order of conceptual factors, but refers to positions and priorities in the conception of social reality and the ways of knowing and intervening in it. In the same way, adding the plural quality to each concept modifies the assigned connotation, hence referring to “cultures” and “citizenships” adds a barely perceptible quality, but which in a certain way affects the relative harshness of the definitions. a priori, closed and static, if not limited. This leads us to the statement and the theoretical assumption that citizenships are diverse, heterogeneous and in unequal positions with respect to other groups of citizens and in their relationship with the state sphere. Each group of citizens lives and models their social action based on their own identity configurations and cultural dispositions, all of them affected by power and gender, class and ethnic relations. Citizenships express the social, political, economic and cultural plurality of our contemporary societies (Heater, 2007; Emmerich, 2009; Escalante, 2014). In the same way, they express their contradictions, their vices and fears, their limitations and obstacles; not only the bright side of creative, positive action, but also the negative, dark and retrograde side of social life.

The collective action of citizens has multiple dimensions (political, social, economic), however, the cultural is one that has gained relevance for the analysis of these, since it functions as a guiding platform for citizen action. The models of participation in social life, belief systems, arguments about social order and conceptions about the world and the role they play in it are formulas, schemes and guiding maps of thinking and doing of citizen actions. Actions that take place both in conventional public spaces or in new public spaces such as social networks on the Internet, where it is also possible to exercise citizenship. Diverse public spaces that enable a convivial, integrative and expressive function of citizens' aspirations in the exercise and vindication of their rights (Borja, 2014: 239-242) and that are generally objectified in specific territories of urban / rural landscapes in processes that cannot always be fully consolidated.

The lexicon around citizenship qualifications is extensive; Most of the terms present extensions of existing rights and some more are potential projects and to a certain extent associated with a utopian horizon, but without a doubt guides and animators of the action of active citizens. In the following list we will be able to investigate definitions and arguments about the new and diverse categories of citizenships. Cultural citizenship (Rosaldo, 1994 and 2000; Kymlicka, 1996; unesco, 1999; García Canclini, 1999; Safa, 1999 and 2001; Bonilla, 1999; Turner, 2001; Calderón, Assies and Salman, 2002; Joppke, 2002; Miller, 2002; Hermes, 2006; Nivón, 2014; Florescano and Cossío, 2014; Gavilán, 2018). Ethnic citizenship (Calderón, Assies and Salman, 2002; Kabeer, 2007; De la Peña, 2008; Garzón, 2010; Cerda et al., 2011; Cerda, 2012; Ortiz, 2012). Digital / media citizenship (Winocur, 2002; Pérez Luño, 2003; Hermes, 2006; Galindo, 2009; Robles, 2009; Merino and Vega, 2011; Natal, Benítez and Ortiz, 2014; Adame, 2015; Richter, 2018). World / global citizenship (Cortina, 1997; García Canclini, 2001; Caletti, 2003; Ramírez Saiz, 2006 and 2014). Cosmopolitan citizenship (Hannerz, 1998; Linklater, 2002 and 2007; Norris, 2005; Aguilera, 2010; Abrahamian, 2015). Youth / Child Citizenship (Muñoz, 2008; Padilla and Flores, 2011; Earls, 2011; Reguillo, 2003 and 2017). Ecological citizenship (Steenbergen, 1994; Riechmann and Fernández, 1994; Aceves, 1997 and 2011; Curtin, 2002; Aguilera, 2010). Precarious citizenship (Moreno, 2000; Caletti, 2003). Neoliberal citizenship (Kabeer, 2007; Zamorano, 2008). Modern citizenship (Turner, 1994; Kabeer, 2005; Zamorano, 2008). Multiple citizenship (Mateos, 2015). Immigrant citizenship (Ansley, 2007; Rubio, 2010; Hernández López et al., 2018) Gender and sexual citizenship (González Luna, 1997; Richardson, 2001; Lister, 2002). Neighborhood citizenship (Safa, 1999). Flexible citizenship (Ong, 2008). Inclusive citizenship (Kabeer, 2005). Broad citizenship (Calderón, Assies and Salman, 2002; Aceves, 2011; Hernández González, 2015). Democratic citizenship (Rubio, 2007). Multilateral citizenship (Santiago, 2012); Active citizenship (Lechner, 2000). Emerging citizenship (Jelín, 1994; Isin and Turner, 2002; Reigadas and Cullen, 2003). Although it does not pretend to be an exhaustive list, it allows us to account for a plurithematic variety and fields of action of citizen configurations scattered throughout the planet and that have developed particularly since the eighties of the century. xx.

First look: citizenship ÷ cultural practices = civic cultures

Without falling into the simplistic definition of conceiving culture as an expression of the folklore of a particular people or reducing its content to the expressive patterns of the fine arts and the cultured modes of human creativity, it would be convenient to take a more complex definition of culture and of an anthropological nature (Nivón, 2014), which will basically be defined as the configuration of a set of interrelated symbols, conceptions and significant practices that structure and energize a society, in a specific socio-historical space and context. The broad framework of citizen exercise will then be that of the current information, communication and knowledge society. Cultures will move in a context of globalization, or if you prefer, of globalization driven by the transformation and restructuring of advanced capitalism (García Canclini, 1999; Linklater, 2002 and 2007; Castells, 2000 and 2009).

These accelerated global changes from the seventies and eighties have led to the emergence and development of a large number of groups and institutions of citizens of a very diverse nature, who exercise their political work in the different dimensions of social reality (political , economic and cultural) and not only vis-à-vis the State, but also vis-à-vis their fellow citizens and the various emerging communities, based on collective action. Citizen action takes plural forms of expression, either as organized civil society, or in concrete forms of civil associations (osc), non-governmental organizations (ngo), third sector organizations, non-profit organizations and many other concrete forms of unconventional citizen action, that is, far from union organizations or political parties, for example

Citizen cultures and their specific modes of concretion imply a set of elements that contribute to their configuration: the way in which we conceive of ourselves as citizens, the images we have about the way of living and interacting in our society; the responsibility we have towards other members of society and vice versa, what we expect from others in their relationship with us (Arredondo, 1996). The “civic culture” –in the singular– is the set of values, motivations and behaviors that we exercise on a daily basis in our interrelationships in the social contexts that we live in. Although it is conceived that civic culture is the way in which rights and obligations are understood and exercised by being part of a particular community, it would not be convenient to reduce its scope to this defining dimension (Valderrama, 2007). The historical opportunity is glimpsed to emphasize citizen action more towards the dimension of duties than to that of citizen rights (Arredondo, 2000: 16), where collective action builds in dialogue and confrontation the new profiles of citizenships, which They will no longer be only framed and contained by the logic of the assignment and the granting of the recognition of rights by the State.

It is thus argued that civic cultures are the plural ways of exercising collectively in matters that concern the individual and their local environment, without neglecting the most relevant problems of the national and even international context. It is also a collective exercise, not only an individualistic act, which is modeled and oriented in the practices of interaction with other social actors, not only referring to the sphere of politics but to the broader spectrum of the social structure. Citizen cultures unfold and are located in specific socio-historical contexts, so they are dynamic, adapt and reconfigure according to patterns of interaction and possibilities of action. They are framed and affected by the circumstances and events of the everyday world, with expectations and horizons of action that are sustained in face-to-face relationships and in contexts that limit or expand their capacities for interaction. In the political contexts of democratic societies such as the one we have in our country, the conception of democracy cannot be reduced to the mere fact of operating electoral processes to define political elites and formal leaderships. Citizen initiatives require a less formal and more alternative democracy that expresses a living process of citizen action, construction and political imagination. Citizen cultures thus confront traditions and conventional ways of exercising democracy and participating in the political life of society (Rodríguez, 2005: 13-15). When citizenship formation processes are thought of as a requirement to improve the quality of democratic life, the term citizen culture becomes political action, as it is conceived and described, in the words of Antanas Mockus (former mayor of Bogotá ) as “the set of customs, actions and shared minimum rules that generate a sense of belonging, facilitate urban coexistence and lead to respect for the common heritage and the recognition of citizen rights and duties” (cited in Escobedo and Camargo, 2006: 92 ); a valuable set of ideas that have nurtured public policies in different geographies of Latin America. Public policies of civic culture, which seek to "transform specific behaviors of citizenship", and must contain an exercise of targeting and systematic intervention in problems that affect life in the community (Mockus et al., 2012: 26) in order to promote the well-being of citizens and the democratization of cities.

Citizenship as an expression of a social practice, as an exercise in construction, opposes the definition of a passive subject who owns certain rights and uncritically fulfills certain duties (Krotz and Winocur, 2007). The potential of citizens when deploying their initiative is a central part of life in democracy, insofar as it shows the ability to be the subject of the process of their human development. This agency manifests itself in its freedom to choose and determines the ends of its action, both in the process of intervening in the social and political organization.

Norbert Lechner (2015) stated that the quality of democracy was largely associated with how democratic social coexistence was, an issue that depended on social contexts, mental maps or available interpretation codes that guide the citizen to define the alternatives of action. In order for citizens to be able to effectively be an acting subject (individual and collective), they would have a set of social capacities and basic rights that would contribute to sustaining their action and achieving their imagined ends. In such a way that the greater the capacities to be a subject, the better the conditions and possibilities for citizen action would be.

But what capacities was he referring to to promote citizen action? There were five: a) organizational capacities, b) cognitive capacities to determine the possible, c) moral capacities in the sense of a normative framework, d) capacity to symbolize social relationships, and e) capacity to establish an emotional and affective relationship with the democracy. However, it will not be easy to develop them, taking into account the obstacles of the current social, economic, political and cultural contexts that not only limit their creation, but even more so their empowerment (Lechner, 2015: 319-325). In addition, it stated that citizenship has to do with the strength of the social bond, since in the absence of this, political disagreement will prevail (Castel, 2010). Therefore, strengthening citizenship implies promoting social life and the democratization of society, expanding the public sphere in which the multiplication of bonds of trust and civic cooperation are favored, spaces that allow the possibility of sharing experiences by areas of conversation. and citizen meetings. Which will not depend on an institutional policy, but rather and in consideration of citizen initiative and action (Lechner, 2000: 27-28).

As a historically contextualized subject, citizenship is also ascribed to equally identifiable concrete cultures, to symbolic universes from which their link and their significant relationship with the world that surrounds them are normatively and cognitively legitimized (Valderrama, 2007: 220). This also leads to think that the subject's belonging to a community is not only because it is a political community but also because it is a communication community, or what is also called a shared interpretation. Citizen cultures guide intercultural communication in the sense of promoting processes of understanding the convergences and divergences between the interpretations that people from different cultures attribute to certain events or social processes. The exercise of citizenship, Valderrama points out, is thus directed to operate as a hermeneutical enterprise, where certain languages, practices and symbols are decoded and interpreted (2007: 221).

As an exercise in such communication and interpretation, the new civic cultures imagine and configure unpublished public spaces that explore new forms of communication, information and knowledge, which produce different and sometimes contradictory cultural practices. For example, virtual public spheres, citizen spaces developed on the internet (social networks, thematic discussion forums, chats and information platforms / various links). The emergence and development of these new communicative spaces produces the techno-symbolic conditions for citizen exercise in a public sphere of global reach, of great autonomy, with permanent operation and flow of information, relatively deterritorialized and unmoored from censorship and exclusions of spaces. conventional politicians (Castells, 2012; Natal et al., 2014; Abrahamian, 2015; Reguillo, 2017). The expansion of the exercise of citizenship is enhanced by having access to these new global communication scenarios, which does not mean forgetting the previous platforms, as radio has regularly been (Winocur, 2002). However, this access continues to be unequal, with contradictory uses and harmful effects, and it is not democratic in relation to the possibility of action of the majority of citizens. Reduce the so-called digital divide, that is, the exclusion in access to these information and communication technologies (tic), is part of the possible and desired agenda of new civic cultures (Robles, 2009; Merino and Vega, 2011).

This emerging public space is in tune with the modes of citizen exercise, that is, the links and relationships through social networks, now also as virtual social networks, which organize and specify the communication processes between citizens at the various social and social scales. even geopolitical. Manuel Castells (2000: 165-166) affirms in this vein that the collective action of citizens through the networks hosted on the internet will allow to promote processes of reconstruction of the current world, but from below, from the floors and local spaces of societies . The Internet provides the material and technological bases that allow the development of local resistance interested in the transformation of the current unjust and unequal societies. The risks in the purposes of building citizenships based exclusively on communication / information platforms are also latent. The so-called cybercitizenship has its counterpart in processes of manipulation and substitution of virtual public spaces by local and translocal powers, such as the induction and orientation of electronic voting, for example (Pérez Luño, 2003). Not forgetting the perverse uses of virtual public spheres that generalize hate speech and spread false rumors and discriminatory judgments without any restraint.

Citizen cultures cannot restrict their gaze of action or their utopia of society to the possible contours granted by political-normative instances of the state formations where they display their existence. The new public spaces accessible to the participation of citizens are necessary resources, which require training-educational processes that promote alternative access modes and promote the free use and permanent appropriation of the resources and possibilities offered by the tic. It is a challenge that transcends the traditional civic and ethical training given to boys and girls in schools (Aguilera, 2010); Small task, but not impossible in contexts as inequitable as current Latin American societies (Eckholt and Lerner, 2009). Challenges to research and the emergence of new fields of study are outlined around the so-called cyberculture and the various practices of users, including those developed for political purposes by the citizens who use them (Escobar, 2005 ).

Talking about civic cultures refers us to civic training processes, to citizenship education processes, to diverse civic pedagogies (González, 2012). In line with the above, it also implies the development of communication skills and competencies articulated with the communicative conditions and environments of the current era (Valderrama, 2007: 226-227). All this in order to build citizenships capable of recognizing the cultural and socio-political contexts within which they construct their significance and their political action at the various social scales and levels of citizen exercise; where there is the possibility of utopian thinking, because criticism and political action are inseparable from certain emerging images of society (Beck and Lemus, 2018: 14). A citizenry that proposes alternatives for coexistence, political options to guide change and forms of intervention to solve the most important problems that plague our societies (Leyva et al., 2015; Stephen, 2016; Reguillo, 2017; Nasioka, 2017; Voices from below, 2018; Durán and Moreno, 2018). The results of these citizen action initiatives will be the development of practices and experiences that profoundly modify the established institutional frameworks, authoritarian belief systems and the hierarchy of values that sustain them (Calderón, Assies and Salman, 2002; Rodríguez, 2005 ; Baronnet, Mora and Stahler-Sholk, 2012; Sandoval, 2017).

Culture + citizenship is therefore to enunciate a set of social practices of citizens that modify and reconfigure the ways of being, being and interpreting the various facts and events in which they actively participate. Rafael Rodríguez writes that citizenship is “an instrument, a technique for the exercise of democracy… it is not a title of belonging; it is the means, the technique, the instrument that will help us to build the areas of belonging and action ”(2005: 175-176). Having citizenship implies a dynamic conception: you have to do something, not just to see yourself reflected in it. It also has a creative and defensive quality, since it leads to the creation of relationships aimed at self-government and the emancipation and consolidation of open and democratic public spaces. Citizenship in this reflective framework is not considered, says Rodríguez, “as a mere ontological status or as a receptacle for a series of rights granted within the framework of a nation-state, rather citizenship must be conceived from a complex horizon that it resizes it as a set of political, economic and symbolic processes that construct the real ”(2005: 181).

The liberal conception of citizenship, which consists of emphasizing the unique and exclusive bond between the individual and the State, has ceased to be the predominant vision to give way to a more comprehensive vision that enriches it, since it emphasizes not only differentiated citizenships but in particular the multilateralism fostered by globalization processes (Emmerich, 2009). Multilateral citizenship would be a conceptualization of greater explanatory scope about the transformations in national states and the links that individuals establish with such political entities. This conception of multilateral citizenship can also be understood as "the possibility of simultaneously holding several citizenships ... being able to exercise them with greater or lesser intensity according to the feelings of each citizen towards each of these political communities" (Pérez Luño, 2003: 54) . Success depends on the development of a broad citizen political culture, which provides maturity and solid training to such citizens, who hold, for example, dual citizenship (Mateos, 2015).

Second look: citizenship + cultural rights = cultural citizenship

Transiting to the Citizenship + Culture binomial is not only to mess up the reference points and the order of the conceptual relationship, it is also to complicate and open the discussion in line with the changes in current societies, affected and questioned by global processes in their various dimensions : economic, political, technological and cultural. The processes of inclusion and recognition of new citizenships are therefore current issues and clearly linked to the reflections around this conceptual binomial (Lachenal and Pirker, 2012).

In the current context of globalization, Jordi Borja (2010) exposes several elements about citizenship that must be highlighted: “it is a status, that is, a social and legal recognition by which a person has rights and duties of belonging to a community almost always with a territorial and cultural base. Citizens are equal to each other, and in theory it is not possible to distinguish between citizens of first, second, etc. In the same territory, subject to the same laws, everyone has to be equal. Citizens accept difference, not inequality ”(2010: 282-283). Citizens have their action and their development in conflictive contexts, be they of confrontation or social dialogue; it is closely linked to representative and participatory democracy; its privileged scene of action has historically been the city. There is no progress of citizenship without social and cultural conflict with political or legal effects. Citizenship, Borja concludes, is “an evolving, dialectical concept: between rights and duties, between status and institutions, between public policies and corporate or private interests. Citizenship is a process of permanent conquest of formal rights and demands of public policies to make them effective ”(2010: 285).

Sociocultural conflict and the dynamism of the changes experienced by citizens in globalizing processes gave rise to new demands (Norris, 2005). For example, international migration processes have strongly impacted the policies of recognition and human rights of immigrants, whether or not they are undocumented. Recent migratory crises such as those from Central America and the Caribbean have questioned national states and have opened strong and permanent debates about the rights of citizens in transit and the criminalization and exclusion experienced by these migrant populations (Ansley, 2007; Hernández et al., 2018).

New rights emerged in line with the processes of globalization in the last third of the century xx which, according to Pelfini, contributed to “expanding citizenship beyond the limits of the nation-state: human rights, environmental protection and cultural heritage, among others, introduce us to the fuzzy contours of cosmopolitanism. It is about a new dimension of citizenship… that alludes to a cultural or communicational element ”(2007: 25). This dimension will allow citizens access to a diverse set of cultural assets, to the preservation and expression of their diversity, and by having greater access to information they will have the ability to assert their voice. Being part of the citizenship is thus a question of belonging, of identity ascription, a matter not exempt from conflict and of a diverse and great complexity (Tamayo, 2010: 28-33).

In this way, linked to the complex process of globalization, cultural and communicational rights emerge, as well as the rights to identity that can be expressed through language, history and the land, together with a diverse series of “connective” rights that they refer to access and participation in the cultural industry and in the broad and complex field of communication (León and Mora, 2006; Pelfini, 2007: 28). Thus, the figure of “digital citizenship” is currently being discussed in relation to the rights and obligations of people regarding the new information and communication technologies (Champeau and Innerarity, 2012; Adame, 2015). Not only as individuals empowered in their technological and communication capacities, but also as participants in the various contemporary social movements that strategically use technologies and social networks (Adame, 2015: 123).

It has been pointed out that young people are the main users of these media supports such as the internet, an information and communication platform that has impacted citizens' practices (Reguillo, 2017; Padilla and Flores, 2011). The use and appropriation of the internet has led to the construction of communities among the citizens themselves, guided by their belonging to various identity formations. These citizen practices in the internet age are understandable, considering the cultural dimension that allows us to recognize the various identities and shared action frames. The obvious transformation is located in citizen practices in relation to the use and meaning given to the new digital media platforms. The term cultural citizenship then naturally leads us to recognize the diversity of practices and the new meanings assigned to matters of public interest and of the political sphere. Consideration of the cultural dimension of citizen political practices leads us to consider the belongings and assignments that come into play in the emerging forms of participation in public space and the political arena (Reguillo, 2003: 5). The internet, field of action of emerging digital communities, is anchored and affected by the logics of identity and the cultural forms of the active citizenships (Champeau and Innerarity, 2012). The proliferation of these new platforms of the tic they do not necessarily enhance and strengthen citizen praxis; there is ample evidence that the opposite is also true: demobilization, disorientation, misinformation, circulation of hate speech, fear and terror (cases such as false accounts on twitter to support the coup in Bolivia; Cambridge Analytica actions in Mexico, or the abundant propagation of racist, gender, class and discriminatory criticism in various aspects for and against the actions and policies of the current ruling regime in Mexico).

The look towards social actors in the world arena has been transformed since the 1990s, at least. Still in the 1970s, the question of democracy and citizen participation centered around the discussion about political parties and electoral processes (Hall and Held, 1989; Heater, 2007). The struggle for control of the state apparatus was crucial, the discussion on the way and the strategy for taking power permeated every controversy and every project. Faced with historical actors such as peasants and workers, the other social actors were weak or "invisible." Society had very little room for direct participation in this framework of action. In democracies, participation was then reduced to competition between political parties, to operate free elections and to seek freedom of the press and opinion. But these processes of democratization of societies neglected or assumed very slightly promoting socioeconomic equality, access to public goods and participation in important collective decisions. Citizenship was reduced to the political sphere and without developing or considering the associated social rights (Pelfini, 2007: 30). Desires for self-determination and self-assertion were at best distant utopias. The need to link the movements and actions of citizens with the cultural sphere was seen as an emerging field of political action, where disputes over cultural identity became necessary (Laraña, 1999; Alonso et al., 1999; Sow et al., 2011; Regalado, 2017).

However, this has been transformed by the critical irruption, both in theory and in daily practice, by new social actors such as, for example, activists of the movements for human rights, feminism, environmentalism or else the struggles of indigenous communities and peoples (Jelín, 1994; Curtin, 2002; Joppke, 2002; De la Peña, 2008; Cerda et al., 2011; Cerda, 2012; González Casanova, 2017). In the case of Latinos in the United States of America, Renato Rosaldo refers to the concept of cultural citizenship as “the right to be different (in terms of race, ethnicity or mother tongue) compared to the norms of the dominant national community, without harming the right to belong, in the sense of participating, in the democratic processes of the nation-state ”(1994: 67).

Faced with the advance of neoliberalism and technocratic thought, these new collective actions appear as an alternative for democratization in Latin American countries. Perhaps one of the most interesting responses of these forms of organization to modernization and the complex processes of globalization is the creation of networks of social relations at different levels and dimensions, both locally and internationally (Stennbergen, 1994; Riechmann and Fernández, 1994; Rubio, 2007; Borja, 2010; Stephen, 2016; Street, 2016).

At the international level, for more than twenty years international aid networks have emerged and have been strengthened from the powers of the North to the countries of the South, whose intention is to intervene in contexts of economic exclusion and political oppression. Despite the fact that some of these networks are asymmetric, since the funding agencies generally define the issues and choose the recipients and execution channels in the South, there are others that show greater reciprocity, if not in terms of the flow of resources. yes of ideas and priorities. The field of human rights and the world of women and health-disease constitute the most widespread areas, and they are followed by the environmental movement, that of displaced populations and migratory processes between countries and continents (Eckholt and Lerner, 2009) . National and international networks have a developed organizational structure, with their own operating rules and progressive legitimacy vis-à-vis governments. Often these networks of organizations become spokespersons for discriminated minorities, representing them in front of power. These processes can produce unexpected situations, such as sheltering democratizing movements, or, on the contrary, constitute a mere reproduction of paternalistic, populist or authoritarian forms of relationship between subordinate classes and power (Casas and Carton, 2012; Lechenal and Pirker , 2012).

The expansion and strengthening of citizenship is a task and a challenge for the consolidation process of democracies (Emmerich, 2009). Democracy, in a broad definition, is considered “a form of organization of power that implies the existence and proper functioning of the State; It has a fundamental element in the electoral system, but it is not reduced to elections; it implies the exercise of an integral citizenship…; it is a particular historical experience in the region, which must be understood and valued in its specificity ”(oea and undp, 2010: 31-33). Democracy would then be a form of organization of power in society with the aim of permanently expanding citizen rights beyond its basic elements: civil, political and social, to expand and include the economic and cultural dimensions.

The democratic regime is the space where the different projects on the social order produced by civil society are expressed and confronted. Democracy is a process of permanent construction, it makes citizens participate, it contributes to generating a culture of legality and at the same time the rule of law (Cisneros, 2018: 25-26). Therefore, from a societal perspective, the consolidation of citizenship implies the normal functioning of the rule of law, which is expressed in the elimination of arbitrary forms and abuse of state power and by the existence of institutions to which it is possible to appeal. to resolve social conflicts; It also means effective control over one's living conditions and a certain degree of foresight in daily life (Jelín, 1994: 106). The State in the current context is not necessarily going to promote the expansion of citizenship; It seems that now it can only be promoted through activities and demands initiated and sponsored by citizen organizations and civil society movements (Casas and Carton, 2012; Bastos, 2012).

Social actors and emerging movements are collective systems of social recognition, expressing collective identities, old and new, with important cultural and symbolic content. But they are also non-partisan political intermediaries who raise the demands of voices not articulated in the public sphere and link them with the institutional apparatus of the State. This “expressive” function in the construction of collective identities and social recognition, as well as its “instrumental” role, in addition to posing a challenge to the existing institutional structures, should also be seen as “a guarantee of a type of democratic consolidation that it includes a mechanism for the self-expansion of its borders and self-perpetuation, which ensures a dynamic democratic consolidation ”(Jelín, 1994: 106). They are movements that manifest a wealth of symbolic challenges against the power of the State and the prevailing processes of cultural hegemony.

For the analysis of these emerging collective actions it is possible to use the notion of “action or movement networks”, which refers to the set of groups and individuals that share a conflictive scenario and culture and a collective identity. These networks are characterized by: a) allowing multiple membership, b) only partial membership, c) personal involvement and affective solidarity as a requirement for participation, d) they are small groups immersed in daily life, connected through certain seemingly invisible conduits and social networks. The notorious contribution of these forms of collective action is their contribution to the democratization of daily life and the creation of new public spaces, as well as to the strengthening of civil society and its capacity for self-determination. These social phenomena really constitute a message, an affront or a symbolic challenge to the dominant sociocultural models.

The relationship between culture and identity is direct, since at the center of every cultural process is the construction of a collective identity, since culture shapes the identity of social groups by functioning internalized in the subjects as a logic of representations socially shared; This identity is formed by reference to a symbolic universe (Mata, Ballesteros & Gil, 2014). So that collective identity affects the reproduction and transformation of culture, so by acting as a motor for collective action, one of the effects is cultural innovation. The movement of cultural citizenships expresses the constitution of a certain collective identity that is based on a shared worldview, which is expressed in behaviors and symbolic exteriorization, as well as in the delimitation of more or less defined social oppositions such as "we" and that of one or more “them” (Miller, 2002; Nivón, 2014). The relationship between citizenship and otherness becomes central both to recognize processes of construction of social identities and multidimensional challenges and difficulties in the process of recognition of social differences and cultural diversities (Castel, 2010: 287-300; Rubio, 2007 : 93-95; Escalante, 2014: 227-230).

Cultural citizenship, according to the Delors Commission (unesco, 1999), orients its actions to the development of processes of self-training and permanent education around four axes: 1) Learning to Be (the right to self-identification and self-definition); 2) Learn to Know (the right to know oneself); 3) Learning to Do (the right to self-development); 4) Learn to Live Together (the right to self-determination). These axes for the action of citizens effectively broaden and complicate the modes of social interrelation and the forms of communication and political representation. They are an expansion of diversity, in frank distancing from the homogenizing and integrationist processes of hegemonic models of action and representation. This demand for recognition of difference also demands effective inclusion and participation in the democratic life of the country (García Canclini, 2004; Casas and Carton, 2012). Cultural citizenship is sustained by the certainty that it will not advance in its demands if it does not promote their rights to full culture (Aguilera, 2010; Vich, 2014) and to a dignified life in the city (Treviño and De la Rosa, 2009; Olvera and Olvera, 2015). The way would not be the conditioned and refunctionalized reproduction of the degraded modes of the massed official citizenship (Lomnitz, 2000), but the forms and representations for collective action that guide new ways of living well and experiencing the city and the countryside, as they have It has been the movements of plural demands of indigenous and peasant peoples throughout Mexico (Baronnet, Mora and Stahler-Sholk, 2012; Bastos, 2012; Hernández and Martínez, 2013; Leyva, 2015).

Final thoughts

The relationship between citizenship and culture is complex, as mentioned in the sections above and in the multiple references used. To finish this review that tries to explore the current transformations of citizenship in societies like ours, I will outline several of the points made. When referring to the diverse and complex practices of "civic cultures" we have qualified them with a set of attributes and features that characterize them, such as the following: that it is an adjectival culture, that it is exercised over recognized rights, it has a pragmatic dynamism , their skills are learned in social interaction, their ways of competing are regulated, they invent and take up traditions of social activism, demand what is granted by law, seek in their action to be inclusive, their membership is broad although the individual is the center of their chore.

On the other hand, when reflecting on the emergence of social action configurations known as “cultural citizenships”We can list some outstanding features: that they are active promoters of projects and discourses oriented towards utopia; they seek the expansion, definition and pursuit of new rights; Their social action profile is multi-dimensional, with flexible and dynamic identities; They are perceived as collectivities in continuous learning, given their emerging profile, creating their own pedagogies aimed at advocating cultural innovation and the generation of public policies relevant to their world of life, mobilized by recognition, equality and difference; They develop efforts to expand the contents of citizenship, and the defense of the right to have rights. Notwithstanding the differences and complementarities, the cultural dimension of citizen actions takes from cultural dispositions what is strategic for its objectives, and from the imagination what does not exist or is invisible by power relations and determined by contexts and specifics. sociohistorical structures. There is a use and appropriation of accumulated knowledge and also the generation of experiences to imagine and desire new rights and possibilities for self-management and self-determination as a social subject, in a scenario in permanent transformation.


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Jorge Eduardo Aceves Lozano is a research professor at ciesas West. Doctor in Social Sciences. Research lines: anthropology of urban culture and identities, work and popular cultures; theory and practice of oral history and biographical approach. He has published individual and collective books and in research journals in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Spain and Canada. Recent books: G. de Garay and JE Aceves (coord.), Interview for what? Multiple listens from various quadrants. Mexico, Instituto Mora, 2017; JE Aceves, Use of oral and life history in educational research. Methodological aspects and oral sources. San Luis Potosí, El Colegio de San Luis, 2018 (Cuadernos del Centro).

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