“Diversity within diversity” - exploring connections between community, participation and citizenship

  • Pedro D. Ferreira
  • Joaquim L. Coimbra
  • Isabel Menezes

Abstract

Even if recently the notions of citizenship and community have become buzz words of very positive connotation, significant tensions underlie any of them: between homogeneity and difference, belonging and diversity, inclusion and exclusion and, more recently, between freedom and security. Real communities are places of cooperation and mutual recognition as much as they are places of inevitable conflict, social control and exclusion. Following an ecological and contextual perspective, and a relational definition of community, concepts such as sense of community and social capital are explored. An analysis of citizen’s participation in their communities illustrates significant dimensions of participation: power, dialogue, initiative, formality, pluralism and time. The discussion considers how these dimensions might contribute to making community organizations turn into 'schools of democracy' (de Tocqueville 2000), and illustrates this potential with young migrants, as long as the diversity of diverse migrant groups is not only recognized but furthered.

Author Biographies

Pedro D. Ferreira

Centro de Investigação e Intervenção Educativas, University of Porto

Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Assistant Researcher

Joaquim L. Coimbra

Centro de Psicologia, University of Porto

Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Associate Professor

Isabel Menezes

Centro de Investigação e Intervenção Educativas, University of Porto

Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Associate Professor

Published
2012-07-03