Communities and Citizenship – paths for engagement

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This paper deals with current issues in the constitution and maintenance of communities and the effect on notions of citizenship and public engagement. This review looks at a number of studies concerned with the building of communities and the effects of structural changes on the maintenance of communities. It uses the decline of the nation as dominant scale for collective identification as the starting point for two parallel trends: the increased importance of local and everyday practices in the formation of communities and the development of cosmopolitan/global identities and citizenships. Examples are drawn from research into regeneration of former industrial regions as well as studies on youth engagement in rural and urban settings. Notions of politics and engagement need to be reconsidered to include small-scale, everyday political engagement which is based on residence rather than a status of citizenship conferred by the state. Technology can enhance and facilitate this process of becoming a local citizen. Digital inclusion can foster social inclusion. Accessibility to technology is therefore a major concern, not only in terms of affordability but also in terms of skills, confidence and trust. The ability to negotiate the offline world of changing boundaries and places for engagement translates into the ability to do so online: social and cultural capital becomes digital capital.

About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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