Participación democrática y espacios de ciudadanía

GT 1.2 Nuevos conceptos de ciudadanía e innovaciones democráticas

Mª Belén Martín Castro (Universidad de Granada)

In view of the rapid transformations taking place in our societies and the ways in which citizenship is conceived and experienced, it is essential to reinforce it as well as the quality of democracy and governance. The current debate and discussion on its concept and limits have actually passed beyond the school environment and onwards to a wider context, including all institutions concerned. These processes of change of rules, attitudes, capacities and values can be reached through social and political learning, so it highlights themes associated within an increasingly unequal contemporary world with fast societal changes, a declining social cohesiveness and with emergent divisions. The paper is focused on the experiences from the called “Sites of citizenship” as a part of the Education for Democratic Citizenship Project. Those involve a variety of different groups in the development of democratic practices, so they offer territorially unbounded politics. Certain level of sponsored institutionalisation is supporting them (i.e.: Council of Europe and other agencies). We could analyze the links between the community participation and policy outcomes and the ways to build the peace in these spaces. It means observes the sites activity as forms of inclusive and pluralist citizenship and the different learning –educational, training, formal, non formal- from them (the focus on inclusiveness can be found involves representatives different ethnic, religious and cultural groups, empowering disadvantages communities to combat different problems). The heart of most of sites is the notion of “community”, and empowerment is the term that could most commonly be attached to site activity, given the centrality of “agency” within definition of sites. At the same time, partnership is a key structural and often involves novel arrangements with unfamiliar participants either created relationships of social peace, solidarity and confidence. Given the communitarian conception of democracy privileges concerns and values relating to, for instance, developing shares practices and understandings and overcoming forms of social exclusion, and with new knowledge and skills, site participants can influence or change circumstances that result in a further participation or that result in challenging inequalities or injustices.