Citizenship and Activism – Beyond the Civil Society
Thomas Boje, Roskilde university
Civil society, citizenship, volunteering and activism are crucial concepts in building a sustainable and participatory democracy. My approach, born out of my research of civil society, singles out three interests: defining what is a ‘good citizen’, achieving human emancipation through active participation, and identifying the conditions for an inclusive critical public debate.
In my search to define a critical theory of civil society I combine three different perspectives: Gramsci’s re-reading of Marx identifying civil society as an arena where people are activated and emancipated without limiting their political engagement to the institutionalized space of the formal democracy. Habermas’ idea of civil society as part of a public sphere in which citizens can enter and influence the affairs of both the state, the economy, and the society as a whole. Fraser’s concepts of redistribution, representation and emancipation as conditions for ”parity of participation” among network of citizens and inside institutions. My main argument is that civic organizations and networks must create a solidary community, which represents by universal attitudes, cultural codes and ethical values, which are characterized by ”civility, criticism, and mutual respect”.
Time: 3-5 PM, followed by drinks and snacks in the lunch room.
Venue: G335, Paradisgatan 5