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Cultural Citizenship. An Integrative Agenda for a Transdisciplinary Debate

©2014 Masterarbeit 101 Seiten


Cultural citizenship is a new term to highlight that participating in society is not just a legal or political issue but has a cultural dimension as well. For example, citizens need stories, performances and role models to express who they are. In this Research Master Thesis, political philosopher Frederik Boven brings together authors from philosophy, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies and cultural policy. The authors include Paul Ricoeur, Will Kymlicka, Jeffrey Alexander, and Renato Rosaldo. Combining methods from transdisciplinary studies and cognitive linguistis, an agenda for is developed for a wide-ranging debate on cultural citizenship.

This Research Master Thesis focuses on the Netherlands, where the relationship between culture and citizenship has become particularly contested in the beginning of the 21th century. Immigrants, especially Muslims, have seen their citizenship called in question. Dutch artists have faced severe budget cuts. As everywhere, gays and women struggle for respect and visibility in the public domain. Three recommendation are made to deal with these issues: (1) make culture equally accessible to all citizens; (2) protect the richness and viability of culture; (3) balance unity and diversity.




Nederlandse SAMENVATTING (Dutch abstract)

CHAPTER 1: Introduction
SECTION 1.1: The conversation frame and the debate frame
SECTION 1.2: ‘The Dutch windmill’: a problem situation in the Netherlands

CHAPTER 2: Key concepts
SECTION 2.1: Cultural citizenship
SECTION 2.2: A transdisciplinary debate
SECTION 2.3: An integrative agenda

CHAPTER 3: Formulating research questions
SECTION 3.1: Procedure
SECTION 3.2: The modernism-postmodernism debate
SECTION 3.3: The Council for Culture
SECTION 3.4: Renato Rosaldo
SECTION 3.5: Nick Stevenson
SECTION 3.6: Paul Scheffer
SECTION 3.7: Will Kymlicka
SECTION 3.8: Jeffrey Alexander
SECTION 3.9: Paul Ricoeur

CHAPTER 4: Integrating research questions
SECTION 4.1: Single normative question
SECTION 4.2: Principle I: make culture equally accessible to all citizens
SECTION 4.3: Principle II: protect the richness and viability of culture
SECTION 4.4: Principle III: balance unity and diversity
SECTION 4.5 Structured list of research questions

CHAPTER 5: Conclusion
SECTION 5.1: Evaluating the concept of cultural citizenship
SECTION 5.2: Evaluating the fictive integrative interaction approach


“[T]he one outstanding virtue of the statesman”

is “understanding the greatest possible number of realities”

as they “open themselves up to the various opinions of citizens;

and, at the same time … being able to communicate between

the citizens and their opinions so that the commonness

of this world becomes apparent”.1


The starting point for this thesis is a problem situation in the Netherlands: doubts have been raised as to whether ‘culture’ in the Netherlands contributes in the right way and degree to the functioning of citizens. This situation is described as a problem of ‘cultural citizenship’: an ‘essentially contested’ concept that points to some interaction between culture and citizenship, but leaves it open to interpretation what this interaction is. This flexibility allows the concept to open up a transdisciplinary debate that involves various fields and paradigms. The thesis aims to offer a research agenda for such a debate.

An integrative research agenda on cultural citizenship is formulated in two steps. First, seven authors from various fields and paradigms are discussed: the Dutch Council for Culture, Renato Rosaldo, Nick Stevenson, Paul Scheffer, Will Kymlicka, Jeffrey Alexander and Paul Ricoeur. For each of these authors research questions are formulated that reflect their work, 78 in total. Second, the research questions are reworked in a more structured and shorter list of 12 questions with sub questions.

The final result is a single normative question that integrates insights from all authors and that identifies three normative principles that should guide interventions in the Dutch problem situation: (1) make culture equally accessible to all citizens; (2) protect the richness and viability of culture; (3) balance unity and diversity.

Nederlandse SAMENVATTING (Dutch abstract)

Het startpunt voor deze scriptie is een probleemsituatie in Nederland: er zijn twijfels gerezen over de mate en wijze waarop ‘cultuur’ bijdraagt aan het functioneren van burgers. Deze situatie wordt beschreven als een probleem van ‘cultureel burgerschap’: een ‘fundamenteel omstreden’ concept dat verwijst naar een bepaalde interactie tussen cultuur en burgerschap, maar dat de aard van deze interactie open laat voor nadere interpretatie. Deze flexibiliteit stelt het concept in staat om een transdisciplinair debat te ontsluiten dat diverse velden en paradigma’s omvat. Doel van de scriptie is om een onderzoeksagenda te formuleren voor een dergelijk debat.

Een integratieve onderzoeksagenda voor cultureel burgerschap wordt opgesteld in twee stappen. Ten eerste worden zeven auteurs besproken uit uiteenlopende velden en paradigma’s: de Raad voor Cultuur, Renato Rosaldo, Nick Stevenson, Paul Schefer, Will Kymlicka, Jeffrey Alexander en Paul Ricoeur. Voor elke auteur worden vervolgens onderzoeksvragen geformuleerd die hun werk weerspiegelen, in totaal 78. Ten tweede worden deze onderzoeksvragen omgewerkt tot een beter gestrucureerde en kortere lijst van 12 vragen met subvragen.

Het eindresulaat is een enkelvoudige normatieve vraag die inzichten van alle auteurs integreert en die drie normatieve principes identificeert die leidend zouden moeten zijn voor interventies in de Nederlandse probleem situatie: (1) maak cultuur gelijkelijk toegankelijk voor alle burgers; (2) bescherm de rijkheid en vitaliteit van cultuur; (3) zoek een balans tussen eenheid en diversiteit.

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

This thesis is about ‘cultural citizenship’. This relatively new concept is used by policy makers and researchers to think about the relationship between culture and politics, the domain to which citizenship2 traditionally belongs. New interactions between these two domains are at the forefront of Dutch public debate. When politicians dispute over the integration of immigrants, the representation of women in the media, or the effects that cutting art budget may have on citizens, they are debating cultural citizenship.

The concept of cultural citizenship is also of academic interest. In my home field of political philosophy it promises a fresh perspective on issues such as multiculturalism, citizenship, and political aesthetics. But the cultural citizenship debate involves other disciplines as well, notably anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies. My aim is to integrate ideas from all these disciplines, and formulate a shared research agenda.

Before we join this debate, in section 1.2, I should address the (unusual) style of this thesis, in the next section.

SECTION 1.1: The conversation frame and the debate frame

This master’s thesis is framed as a face-to-face conversation. That is, I want you to think of it as a conversation, in which I present my research project to an (unspecified) interlocutor. In light of this, most of the thesis is in question-answer format.3

Framing the thesis as a conversation is not just a rhetorical device. More fundamentally, it reflects how I conceptualize the communication in the thesis: as an interaction between reader and writer, each with their own structuring of the interaction.4 Framing academic discourse as a real-time simultaneous dialogue may be unusual.5 But in my defence, other ways of making the reader’s perspective explicit are established in academic discourse.6 For example, scholars often use phrases such as “let us…”, or “we now report on”. The ‘us’ and ‘we’ in these phrases also explicitly include the reader. They reflect a similar representational strategy.

More importantly, the conversation frame furthers the communication process in two ways. First, it helps me, as the writer to structure my thoughts. It prevents my thought from becoming monological, forcing it to take an interactive form. Second, my use of the conversation frame should offer the reader clear entry points into my trains of thought. My hope and belief is that this format will render the text more accessible to a wide audience.

The ‘conversation’ will unfold in four steps, each of which will occupy a separate chapter. In this chapter, we will talk about the problem that my research addresses. In chapter 2, I will explain to my interlocutor the key concepts that I use. In chapter 3, I will identify a large number of research questions, which will be integrated into a more manageable number in chapter 4. In the concluding chapter, we will step back from the conversation and round up the results.

Before we dive into the subject matter of cultural citizenship, in the next section, I should clarify that I use another, related, frame, to make sense not just of my thesis but of my project as a whole. This is the debate frame. I will say that I am preparing an agenda for a debate. This is not a debate that you could physically attend to, but, as I will explain below, a ‘fictive’ debate.

Just as with the conversation frame, discussed above, I have a deliberate strategy behind this. The basic idea is to use our experience with actual debates, which you could attend, to help us think about more abstract interactions, which you can’t. My aim, then, is to facilitate such a ‘fictive’ debate.7 In chapter 3 and 4, where the actual work will be done, the debate frame will proof particularly helpful.

It is now time to begin the conversation, in the next section, and make clear what this ‘debate’ is all about.

SECTION 1.2: ‘The Dutch windmill’: a problem situation in the Netherlands

Can you first tell me where your project is coming from? What drives your research?

My research has wider relevance, but it starts from a problem situation in Dutch society. The problem is this: from different perspectives, doubts have been raised as to whether cultural institutions, processes and sources in the Netherlands contribute in the right way or degree to the formation and functioning of citizens.

In the Netherlands, the relationship between culture and citizenship is now highly contested. The problem may not be new, but it has risen to new prominence since the turn of the century. More precisely, the relationship between culture and citizenship is contested in three ways, corresponding to three meanings of ‘culture’. These different meanings all touch on citizenship, like three windmill wings that share an axis. I will therefore refer to the problem situation as ‘the Dutch windmill’ (see figure 1).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: The Dutch problem situation represented as a wind mill

On the red mill wing, ‘culture’ refers to what sets immigrants apart from people who originate from the Netherlands, i.e. nationality, ethnicity, and religion. Since 1990, immigrants from non-western countries, who are (perceived to be) Muslim, have been represented as ‘different’ from and a threat to ‘being Dutch’, especially in the media.8 So-called ‘populist’ politicians and opinion makers have called into question the civic loyalty of (Muslim) immigrants.9 On the other hand, many immigrants, even from the second-generation, self-identify as ‘Turkish’ or ‘Moroccan’, not Dutch.10 This is not a matter of legal rights. Immigrants certainly have (after a few years of residence) the same rights as other citizens. But in terms of public debate11 and public policy12, the Netherlands indeed have witnessed a ‘decline of multiculturalism’, and a ‘return to assimilation’13.

On the white mill wing, culture refers to the symbolic representation of other minorities, regardless whether they are immigrant or not. The Netherlands are known for their progressive legislation, for example on abortion, same-sex marriage, and drugs. However, there are three caveats to this progressiveness.

The first is that the cultural recognition of minorities such as gays and women lags behind their legal equality. There is no doubt that in the Netherlands gays and women are equal for the law, but there is still reason for concern about their representation in the media14, and their equal treatment in the streets.15 A second caveat is that majority views remain contested by (mostly religious) minorities. Some people in the Netherlands are afraid that the influx of large groups of Muslims will jeopardize the cultural progress that has been made since the 1960’s, and which has come to be seen as the hallmark of ‘Dutchness’.16 Third, there are many other minorities the citizenship of whom may not be fully realized, such as the handicapped and chronically ill,17 and psychiatric patients.18

For these three reasons, the symbolic recognition of minorities is still at the forefront of public debates in the Netherlands.

On the blue mill wing, ‘culture’ points to the cultural sector, i.e. the arts, cultural heritage, creative industries and the media. In 2007, the Dutch Council for Culture had come to realize that processes and institutions in these areas had become of increasing importance for the proper functioning of democracy. 19 The Council therefore called for a more active role for the government. Particularly, the government should safeguard the accessibility of cultural institutions and information, and aid citizens in navigating a changing public sphere. Since the 1990’s, the public sphere and public deliberation in the Netherlands had changed significantly.20 Commercial television and radio stations were introduced in the Netherlands, as well as new media, such as the internet. There have been worries in the Netherlands that politics have become too closely intertwined with the media, and as a result has become personalized and popularized.21

In addition, several Dutch scholars have asked for attention to be paid to a changing relationship between citizenship and education in the humanities.22 These concerns may also be considered to belong to the ‘cultural’ sector, if it is understood as the sector that deals with the creation, interpretation and renewal of meaning.

Corresponding to these three senses of ‘culture’ are three sense of ‘citizenship – just as each wing of a real mill is attached to the same axis, but to a different part of it. In relation to immigrants, citizenship refers to nationality, but for other minorities, such as gays, citizenship is rather about equality and visibility in the civil sphere. In the cultural sector, citizenship is about access to cultural information and institutions.

We now have before us three sets of meanings, each consisting of the pair ‘culture’ and citizenship’. This structural similarity allows me to fold the issues that they bring to the fore into a single, but multifaceted, description: it is a problem of cultural citizenship. As I see it, the question at the heart of all these issues is: how are culture and citizenship related, and how should they be?

To answer your question, the aim to develop a better understanding of and response to ‘the Dutch windmill’ is what ultimately drives my research.

Without going into details, can you give me an overview of what it is that you are trying to achieve with regard to this problem?

My aim, in this thesis, is to integrate, in a methodical way, divergent perspectives on the ‘the Dutch windmill’, from a number of scientific fields and paradigms as well as from stakeholders in Dutch society. It is principally integrative research, which seeks to generate knowledge by bringing together existing perspectives on culture and citizenship in the context of this problem situation in Dutch society.

There are now several bodies of knowledge about interactions between culture and citizenship. A wide range of scholars and stakeholders in Dutch society are addressing aspects of the problem. However, their knowledge is specialized along one or several dimensions: it targets a specific group (Muslims but not women, or gays) or a specific domain (new media but not traditional communication), and does so from a specific field (sociology, not philosophy) and a specific paradigm (psychoanalysis, not structuralism). This specialized research has its own merits, but I believe that to increase the societal significance and impact of such knowledge a more holistic approach is required. If the societal problem I target is multifaceted and indeterminate, so should be my research.

I am intervening in the cultural citizenship debate, as I call it. I use the phrase in two ways, which I will refer to as debate1 and debate2. Debate1 refers to an existing debate, which revolves around the concept of ‘cultural citizenship’. This debate is quite inclusive on some dimensions. For instance, it spans an array of academic fields, such as anthropology, cultural studies and philosophy. Beyond academics, policy makers, opinion makers and politicians have also contributed to the debate. But if we look at paradigms (which operate across several fields) debate1 is not as inclusive as it could be. Influential paradigms such as structuralism and phenomenology are not part of the debate. From a societal perspective this is unfortunate, as it means that not all problem definitions and solutions paths that are possible are considered.

Debate2 refers to my ideal of having a debate that is also paradigm-transcending.23 This debate will still revolve around ‘cultural citizenship’, but the concept will have been emancipated from its current use and taken on a wider meaning.24 The wider concept will have swallowed up related phrases, such as ‘multicultural citizenship’, and ‘culture and citizenship’. Scholars and stakeholders who were not talking with each other will now be draw into the same debate. My intervention then, takes debate1 as its starting point, and moves it beyond its current limitations, in the direction of debate2. To have maximal significance for Dutch society, the debate on cultural citizenship must become more like that society in its diversity of perspectives.

I aim to develop an integrative agenda for debate2. In so doing, I will apply two families of methods. For the integration itself I will use transdisciplinary methods.25 These methods were designed to distinguish and render connectible several disciplinary perspectives, but I believe that they can also be used for other types of integration, such as the bringing together of diverging cross-disciplinary paradigms.

Before I can integrate these perspectives I must first describe them separately. For this description I will draw methods and theoretical tools from cognitive linguistics, a framework that has emerged in the last three decades and is now fairly established in linguistics. Novel is that cognitive linguistics regards language as emerging from and reflecting human cognition.26 Cognitive linguists regard language as structured by the same patterns and forces as other cognitive capacities. Cognition is seen as (partly) structured by experience, i.e. so-called ‘embodied’ experiences (e.g. handling things or moving through space), and situated interactivity, (e.g. face-to-face conversations). 27

My research question sums up my intention: can an integrative agenda be developed for a transdisciplinary debate on cultural citizenship, if so, in what way?

It sounds to me as a lot to take on. How do you delimit your research? In other words, what are you not doing?

First of all, the concepts of ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ mutually delimit each other. The problem situation in the Netherlands is actually far more extensive than ‘the Dutch windmill’ on which I focus. None of these further issues will be addressed here. I am not concerned, for example, with the formal nationalisation of immigrants, with legal issues surrounding same-sex marriage, or the intrinsic value or economic benefits of a strong cultural sector. I deal with culture only insofar it relates to citizenship, and with citizenship only insofar it involves a cultural dimension. That is, research on ‘cultural citizenship’ is not the sum of culture research and citizenship research, but homes in on the particular problem of their interaction.

My research is further restricted to reflections on cultural citizenship, which are relatively detached from everyday experience. Specifically, this thesis targets writings by scholars or by opinion and policy makers with an academic background. This reflective level is only one of three levels on which the cultural citizenship debate actually operates. I will not be dealing with the other two levels28, at least not directly.29

Finally, I am concerned with the integration of perspectives rather than trying to advance or fully understand any one in particular. You should know that concentrating your efforts on a single discipline is only one way to focus research. Examining what connects or separates various perspectives is not necessarily less focussed. Rather, it is another way of achieving focus, which is just as legitimate.

CHAPTER 2: Key concepts

We now have an overview of your project, and a sense of the context out of which it arises. Next, let us home in on your key concepts. What are they?

My key concepts are the three concepts in the title of this thesis: (1) ‘cultural citizenship’, (2) ‘transdisciplinary debate’, and (3) ‘integrative agenda’ (see table 1).

SECTION 2.1: Cultural citizenship

You offered some examples, but I still find it difficult to see what cultural citizenship is. Can you define cultural citizenship?

That is a good question, but one that has no easy answer. The short rejoinder is that it is a relatively new concept to articulate interactions between culture and citizenship. The concept emerged in the last 25 years to clarify that being a full citizen is not only a matter of social or political rights, but also a matter of culture. Citizenship has cultural dimensions as well, for example being respected in the street, being equally represented in the media, or having cultural knowledge and resources. Without these dimensions, citizenship is not all it can, and should be.

Unlike citizenship rights, which you either do or do not have, cultural citizenship is a matter of degree.30 You cannot, legally, be half a citizen, but in a cultural sense people are. A case in point is the immigrant who has been naturalized but who is still treated as an outsider. In addition, cultural citizenship is context dependent. For instance, two gay men who kiss in public may be respected in some neighbourhoods, but be called names, or molested, in others. All this makes cultural citizenship a fragile achievement.

That cultural citizenship is a cultural achievement is most apparent in the case of minorities who are perceived as ‘other’, as their claims to being ‘fully’ or ‘really’ a citizen are contested. But the ease with which majority members may achieve recognition as a full citizen should not blind us to the fact that cultural citizenship may be a difficult feat for them as well. Biased media, for example, may make it difficult for any citizen to have access to role models, or to knowledge about the wider cultural context. In the same vein, cultural activities do not stand on their own, but are carried by a chain of organisations (e.g. schools, distributers) and individuals (e.g. technicians, performers). No citizen can secure a rich cultural sector on his or her own; this is no different for majority members than it is for minorities. If culture matters for citizenship, is does so for all citizens.

The long answer to your question is that cultural citizenship, like many political concepts, is an essentially contested concept (see figure 2). This idea was introduced by Scottish philosopher W.B. Gallie to account for the fact that concepts in politics31 do not have a single meaning that will ever be agreed upon by all its users.32

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: democracy as an essentially contested concept

For example, the concept of democracy has no agreed upon meaning, but may be used variously in the sense of (1) ‘citizens’ right to choose their government’, (2) ‘the participation of citizens in politics’, or (3) ‘the equality of all citizens’. Now, Gallie suggests that all three senses of the word are diverging interpretations of a shared examplar or prototype. I will refer to it as the uncontested core of the concept.33

In the case of democracy, this core is formed by an age-old tradition of aspirations and revolts, such as the ideals of the French Revolution. Because they all derive from the same prototype, various uses of the word ‘democracy’ can be said to belong to a single concept. However, as they offer rivalling interpretations of a shared exemplar, we must distinguish them as different conceptions. If the uncontested core is complex enough so that something can be said for each conception, each conception is at the same legitimate and essentially contested.34

The adjective contested is chosen precisely because it may activate the cultural frame of a sport or game contest. W.B. Gallie compared conflicts over the boundaries and the meaning of concepts to a competition between rivalling teams during a gaming or sport tournament. In this framing, what Gallie calls ‘concept’ corresponds to the championship that all teams compete for, whereas a particular ‘conception’ corresponds to the playing styles of one of the teams. The uncontested core, finally, corresponds to a team from the past that all present teams recognize as exemplary, and which embodied the championship they all compete for.

That is all very well, but I do not see how this helps us to understand what cultural citizenship means. Why do you need this whole theory to answer what I thought was a simple enough question?

Well, if I am right that cultural citizenship is an essentially contested concept, your question (‘what is cultural citizenship?’) is not as simple as it may seem. In fact, it falls into three sub questions (see table 2).

First sub question: is there an uncontested core shared by diverging conceptions of cultural citizenship? We should not expect to find highly structured features that are common to all conceptions. Instead, we should look for a weakly structured prototype, to which each conception has a family resemblance. For cultural citizenship, this weakly structured core consists of the directive to find a meaningful interaction between culture and citizenship.

Second sub question: what are the different interpretations of this uncontested core? The focus shifts from what different conceptions may have in common to what sets them apart. These interpretations correspond to Gallie’s competing conceptions. We can look at some example later.

Taken together, these two questions demand a linguistic description of the concept of cultural citizenship. This description is not neutral, as it starts from certain linguistic assumptions about how concepts in general are structured, but it does not presuppose any strong opinions about cultural citizenship in particular. For this reason, the first two questions are for a relative observer, such as the moderator of the debate, rather than for anyone who is involved in the debate in the role of debater.

By contrast, the third sub question demands the involved perspective of a debater who participates in the debate. It asks for an involved opinion rather than for a detached description. The third sub question is: which interpretation do you advocate, and why? This is a prescriptive question, which asks for one conception of cultural citizenship in particular. As we will see, it is this question that authors on cultural citizenship usually try to answer in their writings on the subject.

Your last sub question is the one I would like to ask. Why bother with all these other interpretations if they are not your own?

I can see where you are coming from. However, I would like to remind you that I practice a special kind of research, which is best described as integrative. The whole purpose of my research is to integrate these interpretations that you would like me to disregard. In order to do so, I must first understand what they have in common. That is why my first sub question zooms out to the uncontested core that all these conceptions may have in common, rather than zooming in on one conception in particular.

There is no ready-made answer to my first sub question in the literature on cultural citizenship, although some of the more reflective literature comes close. To take a case in point, an early chapter on the development of the concept attributed its “explanatory power” to a “paradoxical juxtaposition of ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ ”.35 The authors emphasized that instead of explaining practices in terms of culture or citizenship separately, the concept of cultural citizenship draws attention towards “how they act upon each other”.36 This is a good starting point for understanding the core meaning of cultural citizenship: it has to do with interactions between culture and citizenship. In the same vein, a recent article points out that “to talk about cultural citizenship means to articulate some link between culture and citizenship”.37 To rephrase your question: it is possible to describe this interaction and this link with more precision?

I will do so with the help of W.B. Gallie’s theory of ‘contested concepts’. You should know that this theory is always applied to single concepts, e.g. ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom’. Our problem is somewhat different, as ‘cultural citizenship’ is a complex concept, which combines two existing concepts into a new one. The problem can thus be re-described as follows: how can the idea of a shared examplar be transposed to the somewhat different case of a complex concept?

The transposition will involve two steps. The first step is to re-interpret what Gallie called shared exemplar in terms of schema theory. I maintain that the shared exemplar is a schema.38 Such a schema combines two functions. On the one hand, it provides some common structure that constrains, regardless of context, how the concept may be used. On the other hand, the schema leaves blanks that are filled in differently depending on the context in which the concept is used. This allows me to re-describe the question with more precision: what schematic structure do different conceptions of cultural citizenship share, taking into account the internal complexity of the concept?

The next step of the transposition is to move from a schema that structures a simple concept to a schema that structures a complex concept. 39 You can imagine this operation as follows. We start at a plane where we see only single concepts, one in each view. First we see only ‘culture’ before us, then only citizenship’. In both cases, the concept takes up our entire visual field. Next, we zoom out, broadening the scope of our vision until we have both concepts in view, simultaneously. We can now see that the two concepts are apart but related. Finally, we direct our attention towards the relationships between the concepts, and we perceive that they form a network. The uncontested core that we are after, then, is the schematic structure of this network.

My assumption is that schematic structure is not confined to the semantic level, i.e. the meaning of concepts, but also operates at the level of syntax structures, such as the structure of concepts.40 This means that to understand what ‘cultural citizenship’ means we must understand how ‘content’ and ‘form’ work together to create new meaning. When we try to comprehend ‘cultural citizenship’, for the first time, we must juggle three schemas: a content-schema internal to the culture concept, a content-schema internal to the citizenship concept, and a form-schema that structures their relationship.41

How are the content-schemas of ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ related to the form-schema that structures their relationship? The proposal I support is that the content-schemas fit into the form-schema, like objects in a container.42 The concept of ‘cultural citizenship’ emerges when ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’, however they are defined, are placed into a structural relationship. Without further context, all we can say about the nature of this relationship is that is one of interaction: some sense of culture interacts somehow with some sense of citizenship.

In conclusion, my answer to your question is this: the core that different conceptions of cultural citizenship share is not so much a certain meaning as a certain form, which without further context can only be characterized in very abstract terms as a structural relationship of interaction. The uncontested core of the concept of cultural citizenship consists of the instruction to combine culture and citizenship in a relevant and meaningful way, without yet filling in what is relevant or meaningful.

I will take your word for it that this is how it works, but knowing that does not help me a bit. All I want to know is what the concept of cultural citizenship can do for me. A good student would be able to explain that to me in simple terms. Let me try again. What does cultural citizenship mean?

I understand your frustration, but it has less to do with what I am willing to do. Rather, it has to do with my role as a transdisciplinary researcher. Had I been talking to you as a philosopher, engaging in purely philosophical research, I would have been able to give you the one definition I would use in my own work. But in my role as transdisciplinary researcher, I have to deal with a whole range of interpretations.

I have explained what all these interpretations have in common, but for my project it is just as important to understand what separates them. That is why I formulated my second sub question as I did. I have to ask for your patience a bit longer, and explain first why there are so many different interpretation of ‘cultural citizenship’.

I said that a concept like ‘cultural citizenship’ involves three schemas. Now, each of these schemas can be the occasion for rivalling interpretations. First, the constituent concepts ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ (structured by content-schemas) are ambiguous themselves.43 In section 1.2, I discussed three different sets of meanings as they occur in Dutch society today. Depending on the context, the word ‘cultural’ in the phrase ‘cultural citizenship’ may refer to the home-culture of immigrants, to a ‘different’ lifestyle, or to the cultural sector. Correspondingly, ‘citizenship’ may refer to national membership, to visibility in the public sphere, or to access to cultural institutions. I can now describe this with more precision: what precise conceptual entities different authors on cultural citizenship bring into a relationship differs from context to context.

Empirical studies on conceptual combination confirm that two concepts can often be combined in more than one ways. For example, an ‘elephant tie’ may be used in the sense of ‘a tie with pictures of elephants on it’, of ‘a very large tie’, or even of ‘a tie worn by a circus elephants’.44 In each reading, different aspects of the concepts of ‘tie’ and ‘elephant’ are selected as bridge heads for interrelating them. They form different conceptions of ‘elephant tie’, which have in common only that they result from the same kind of cognitive process, i.e. the interaction of ‘elephant’ and ‘tie’. ‘Cultural citizenship’, then, is formed in a similar way as ‘elephant tie’, but here the process is less tractable because the concepts involved are more complex.

What is more, even if the meanings of ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ were the same in each case, what would count as the most relevant interaction between them would still depend on the particularities of the context. Clearly, there is more than one way in which the cultural sector interacts with citizenship. For example, citizens are both users and producers of ‘culture’ and, they deal with different kinds of culture (e.g. media, art). Further, culture can be about citizenship, as in a film that represents the struggle of a citizen to be respected, visible or active in public life. In sum, the content and the form of the concept can be combined in different ways depending on the context. Because the content and the form can work together in more than one way, the concept of ‘cultural citizenship’ is open to many interpretations.45

Can you at least give me an example of how this ambiguity may give rise to different interpretations of cultural citizenship?

Well, let us compare two conceptions as they have emerged in the literature on cultural citizenship (see table 3). I will refer to them as academic conceptions, because they fill in ambiguities in the uncontested core on the basis of the background assumptions of a particular academic field and paradigm.

In the first column you find the conception of Renato Rosaldo and his colleagues in the USA. 46 They are anthropologists working on Latino minorities in the USA, and the meanings of ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ they pick out clearly reflects this concern. In this national and disciplinary context, the most pertinent interaction between culture and citizenship is how and to which degree the majority of Americans imagines their nation in a way that includes Spanish speaking minorities. It therefore makes good sense for Rosaldo and his colleagues to state that cultural citizenship simply ‘is’ this interaction.

However, in the spirit of integrating their insights with insights from other contexts, the specificity of their conception turns into a limitation. Rosaldo et. al. limit the scope of the concept of ‘cultural citizenship’ to Latinos in the USA, but at least some of the things they say has actually wider relevance. Anthropologists drawing on their work have later applied the concept to other ethno-cultural minorities, not all of whom are immigrants, specifically Asians, Arabs, Native Americans and Indians. To be able to do so, they had to stretch the meaning of ‘cultural citizenship’ beyond the context-specific limits imposed by Rosaldo et. al.

The second column has the conception of cultural citizenship proposed by a second group of authors, from the interdisciplinary field of Cultural Studies.47 Here, the scope of the concept is not restricted to ethno-cultural differences, but involves a much wider range of ‘cultural’ differences, including sexual orientation, ability, gender and lifestyle. But here too, there are contextual limitations in place. For instance, that ‘culture’ for these authors primarily refers to popular culture, media and ICT reflects the scope and presuppositions of their field. ‘Culture’ can do so because the linguistic form, in itself, is underspecified. The same is true for ‘citizenship’, and for their combination.

We are finally going in the right direction, but we are not there yet. So far you have only been describing how other people define ‘cultural citizenship’. Will you also offer a definition of your own?

We now move unto my third sub question: what interpretation do you advocate? Recall that this is a question for participants in the debate, rather than for the moderator. As moderator my only concern is with the debate as a whole. My sole responsibility would then be to guard the inclusiveness and communicative effectiveness of the debate. Can the debaters find some common ground? Is there enough room for diversity, or does one participant dominate the others? To my mind, these are political questions, which should both be answered in the affirmative first if there is to be a debate at all.

Yet, although I have only organized the debate, I did so with a specific intent. I, too, come to this debate with an agenda of my own. I bring these authors together to help me think about ‘the Dutch windmill’. I said that academic conceptions of cultural citizenship emerge when it fulfills a circumscribed role in a disciplinary context. By contrast, the context for my project is a problem situation in society. This changes the rules of the game. Now, instead of drawing background assumptions from an academic field, I define ‘cultural citizenship’ against the background of Dutch society, specifically ‘the Dutch windmill’. This problem situation is not confined to a disciplinary structure, a single paradigm, or one group. It therefore requires a transdisciplinary conception, which is tailored to the Dutch context as a whole.48

I expect that this transdisciplinary conception will be much closer to the uncontested core in its scope and ambiguity than the disciplinary conceptions of cultural citizenship we find in the literature. Even so, it is not without borders: possible meanings of ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ irrelevant to the Dutch context will be deliberately discarded. I will not be concerned, for example, with the relations between different nations with the same state, simply because such issues are not relevant to ‘the Dutch windmill’. Debaters who want to talk about that will have to find someplace else.

I cannot give you this conception at the outset, simply because formulating it is one of my research goals.

Will you at least confine yourself to this conception, and leave all these others interpretations for what they are?

I have to disappoint you again. For I need to switch between circumscribed disciplinary conceptions on the one hand and my much more ambiguous transdisciplinary conception on the other hand.49

Transdisciplinary researchers use the term ‘boundary concepts’ to analyze this switching process. 50 Boundary concepts are “objects which are plastic enough to adapt to local needs … yet robust enough to maintain a common identity across sites”.51

Boundary objects develop and maintain coherence across different worlds by varying the degree of stabilization: they become weakly structured in common use and strongly structured in specialist contexts. I will have to switch between weakly and strongly structured ‘conceptions’ of cultural citizenship, in order to do justice to both the diversity of my participants and the need for a common debate with a shared agenda.

SECTION 2.2: A transdisciplinary debate

You are talking about a cultural citizenship debate. Is this an event that I can go to?

Not necessarily. I use the experience of a debate to help us think about more abstract interactions. These are not events that you might visit, but distributed phenomena that involve multiple places and times. Recall my discussion, in section 1.1., of fictive interaction: using the schematic structure of face-to-face communication to organize thinking about more abstract processes. When I refer to ‘the cultural citizenship debate’ I make use of the same process. I am talking about a ‘fictive’ debate.

You speak of a transdisciplinary debate. How does such a debate differ from other kind of debates?

Two contrasts are relevant: (1) disciplinary as opposed to interdisciplinary research, and (2) inter- as opposed to transdisciplinary research. (See table 4).

The first contrast set opposes a transdisciplinary debate to a debate within a single discipline. ‘Discipline’ here means a group of academic researchers who share a sufficient body of research questions, objects, methods and exemplary cases to function as a single community with a distinctive language, history and culture.52 Well known examples are philosophy, physics and sociology A transdisciplinary debate differs from a disciplinary debate in that it brings together participants from two or more disciplines.

A second contrast set opposes transdisciplinary to interdisciplinary research. These words sound similar, but refer to distinct research practices.53 Interdisciplinary research developed to address the limitations of disciplinary specialisation, which may blind scholars to issues that fall outside the scope of their own discipline, and leave them unable to address complex issues comprehensively.54 Interdisciplinary research tackles these limitations by combining the resources of two or more fields. An interdisciplinary debate takes place between scholars who not share the same disciplinary background, but who may share certain more general scientific principles and concepts.

Transdisciplinary research, as I understand it, goes a step further in that is seeks to replace discipline-driven research with problem-driven research.55 Research of this kind is not framed by (inter)disciplinary questions and assumptions, but rather by real life problems in society. Typically, the problem is approached in a holistic way, which brings together contributions from disparate academic fields, and stakeholders outside of science. This diversity of perspectives makes it more difficult to on the one hand find enough common ground to enable communication, and on the other to make distinctions meaningful to each other. There are no given scientific concepts and theories that can do this integrative work. In order to enable a debate, the participants must first construct a communication ground outside of science. The need for this groundwork is what sets a transdisciplinary debate apart from (inter)disciplinary debates.

Is a transdisciplinary debate necessarily ‘fictive’, in your sense?

To the contrary, in most transdisciplinary research, integration is achieved by working together in a heterogeneous team of scientists, professionals and stakeholders. Such teams will regularly meet face-to-face, or interact via email and internet. Consequently, the different perspectives that are involved can be represented by people who actually hold that perspective. This has obvious advantages. If the interpretation of key concepts is biased against say the liberal convictions of one participant, this bias will immediately be called if one the team members is actually a liberal. In short, in actual debates, the burden of fair representation is carried by the participants.

By contrast, I am trying to develop a new way of doing transdisciplinary research, which I call the fictive integrative interaction approach.56 This approach involves bringing together perspectives from participants who are not actually communicating. The advantage of such a ‘fictive’ interaction is that it can draw in participants who would otherwise be unavailable, because they are abroad, ill, deceased, or engaged in other activities (such as disciplinary research).

The flip side of the coin is that in ‘fictive’ integrative interaction, the burden of fair representation is entirely on myself as ‘moderator’.57 Hence, I will need to take extra precautions against reducing other perspectives to my own point of view.

The safest thing to do would be to simply repeat their own words, but I even then I would make my own selection. Moreover, it would render my narrative to complex, and fail to bring out the differences and commonalities between perspectives.

In my view, relying on systematic linguistic description is the next best thing. I will draw on methods from cognitive linguistics to represent the perspectives of the various participants in my ‘debate’. Rather than being merely guided by my subjective point of view, I will draw on theories that have been developed in an established discipline, and that are informed by scientific research. Linguistic description is not unbiased (which would be impossible to attain), but its assumptions are much easier to explicate than merely subjective prejudices. Moreover, these assumptions do not concern cultural citizenship directly, but have to with the way meaning is represented in general.

Even so, to avoid cognitive linguistics from dominating the debate, I will rely on transdisciplinary methods to integrate these perspectives. Integration here involves “distinguishing and linking … scientific knowledge and knowledge from daily practice”.58 Both aspects, the distinguishing and the linking, are evenly important. Prior experiences with transdisciplinary research have uncovered several ways in which this dual aim may be achieved.59 I will combine and fill in some of them in accordance with the nature of my project.

SECTION 2.3: An integrative agenda

You said that you want to develop an agenda for the transdisciplinary debate. What do you mean?

I would like to emphasize that ‘running’ the debate will not be part of this thesis. My more modest aim here is to develop a framework and a direction for the debate. To sense the distinction, you may think of the debate itself as a meeting, and of this thesis as its agenda. What follows is not the meeting itself, but a face-to-face conversation in which I unfold an agenda for the meeting, while the meeting itself is scheduled at a later day. The aim of this meeting is to bring together a wide range of perspectives. This requires a special kind of agenda, which I will refer to as an ‘integrative agenda’.

What requirements should the agenda fulfil?

I need to balance two design principles.

The first design principle is that the agenda should be integrative, along several dimensions. To begin with, the agenda should bring together contributions from societal actors and various scientific disciplines fields and paradigms. Conversely, it should be accessible for and understandable to all people who are reflecting on cultural citizenship, in science as well in society. The agenda should further deal with the whole range of groups, identities and lifestyles that can be found in Dutch society. Finally, it should cover all relevant sectors of society, not only the arts and media but also religion, and politics.

The second principle is that the agenda should be focussed enough to give the debate direction and limit its scope. From a societal perspective, it is recommendable to rely on a wide range of knowledge. However, this is not an excuse to abandon the equally valid demands of scientific rigour and precision. You cannot talk about everything or you end up talking about nothing at all.

Can you be more concrete? What does an ‘agenda’ entail in this context?

The agenda will be developed in two steps, which are presented in the chapters that follow. The first step, presented in chapter 3, consists of rounding up a list of research questions. Think of this list as talking points for a meeting, which is one everyday meaning of an ‘agenda’. They specify what should (and what should not) be on the table in my ideal debate2.

Chapter 3 will introduce seven authors. On the basis of their work, I will compile an unstructured list of 78 research questions. To be honest, the choice of these authors is somewhat arbitrary, in the sense that they are authors that I happen to be familiar with. Then again, I did choose them for good reasons. They are representative of the scope and diversity of an inclusive debate on cultural citizenship. They come from different disciplines, notably philosophy, cultural studies, cultural sociology and anthropology. There are two philosophers, but one works within a so-called ‘continental’ tradition that is typical for European philosophy, whereas the other works within so-called ‘analytical’ philosophy, typical for English language philosophy. In addition to scientific works I have included a policy document, as well as a book written for a general audience. Some authors are postmodern in orientation, whereas others are not. One limitation, which I regret, is that my authors are all men, which may open me to the objection that the agenda is gender-biased. The next step, in chapter 4, is to integrate the various perspectives. To be concrete, I will formulate a single normative question, containing three normative principles that are central to the cultural citizenship debate. These three normative principles will then be used to rework the unstructured list of 78 questions into a structured and somewhat shorter list of 12 research questions, with several sub questions. Questions on this final list should be general enough to be interesting from different perspectives, but specific enough to guide further research.

Chapter 5 will bring the thesis to a close with a conclusion, which will answer my research question.

CHAPTER 3: Formulating research questions

SECTION 3.1: Procedure

You have been talking about a debate on cultural citizenship, but in abstraction from the people who actually make up this debate. Who are they? The debate, as I will present it here, will include seven ‘debaters’ (see table 5). They can be divided up in different ways.

Conceptually, three debaters use the integrated concept of ‘cultural citizenship’, and are part of the current debate. The other four do not combine culture and citizenship into a single concept, and are new inclusions in the (widened) debate.

Geographically, two debaters are from the Netherlands (2), whereas the other five are from the France (1), the UK (1), the USA (2), and Canada (1).

Historically, the writings included in my research cover half a century, from 1957 to 2007. Some of the authors wrote about culture and citizenship at the beginning of this time period, others wrote about it towards the end.

How will you bring these authors together?

Within the scope of a single chapter, I will obviously not be able to discuss their theories at length. My more modest aim here is to show that the inclusion of such a wide range of authors in the debate will demand a broadening of its agenda. Precisely, I will first compile a list of questions raised by their work, and then integrate them into a more manageable number of questions. This should offer a holistic perspective on ‘the Dutch windmill’.

Remind me, what do you mean by the Dutch windmill?

I introduced the model of a windmill (§1.2) to think about a problem situation in the Netherlands. Like a windmill, it involves three ‘wings’ which revolve around the same axis. The axis is the concept of ‘citizenship’. The three wings are three senses of ‘culture’ relating to citizenship: (1) the acculturation of immigrants, i.e. with different ethnicity and religion, (2) the symbolic representation of social minorities such as women and gays, and (3) the civic importance of the cultural sector. In the Netherlands, interactions between culture and citizenship have recently been contested in all these areas. This is the problem that formed the starting point of my research. I will refer to it as ‘the Dutch windmill’.

Formulating research questions is a critical step in translating this problem into an ‘epistemic object’: a delimited ‘object’ that is (re)described in such a way that it can be dealt with scientifically.60 I will break the process up in stages: (1) I will compile an unstructured list of 78 questions; (2) I will formulate a single normative question; (3) I will rework the unstructured list into a structured list of 12 questions.

The first stage is “developing a catalogue of research questions’’.61 I will explicate the questions raised by each author, and add them to the list. This unstructured list will be heterogeneous and consists of 78 research questions. This list is not only a step up to later stages but has its own value as a store of questions for further research. It will be organized in three sections, following a familiar division into descriptive, comparative, explanatory, and normative questions (see table 6).62

The second stage is to formulate a single normative research question that all participants can relate to.63 This normative question will necessarily be unspecific, and must be filled in before it can function in any specific context. Its sole purpose is to function as an intermediate between the different perspectives. The single normative question should aim at the ‘transformation knowledge’ necessary to transform the problem situation in a target situation all participants can subscribe to.

The final stage is to rework the unstructured list into a structured list. This list will consist of 12 integrative research questions, with sub questions. You may think of them as questions the authors might jointly formulate in preparation of the ‘debate’.64 The list must balance between being inclusive and being short enough so that it can be talked through on a single meet. It will maintain the same organization into descriptive, explanatory, and normative questions.

At each stage it is essential to be sensitive to differences in the description and framing of the problem. The need for agreement must be balanced with the importance of distinction.65

Stage 1 will take up the remainder of this chapter; stage 2 and 3 will have to wait to the next chapter.

Let us focus on the first stage, then. Why do you call it an unstructured list?

The first stage will result in a lengthy list of very heterogeneous research questions. I refer to it as the unstructured list, because organizing and reducing the number of questions through selection and generalization will be held off at this stage. The goal here is to collect many different questions, and in the process to develop an agenda that is not limited to any particular conception of cultural citizenship.

In what order will you discuss these authors?

I will start with the agenda suggested by the Council of Culture. I will then broaden the agenda in two steps (see table 7).

The first step is to look beyond Dutch society, while remaining within the postmodern paradigm. I will discuss two international authors who also use the term ‘cultural citizenship’. The next step is to move beyond postmodernism, first within Dutch society, then internationally. These steps will leave us with an uncondensed list of questions.

SECTION 3.2: The modernism-postmodernism debate

Before you begin your analysis, I would like interject another perspective on your authors. The other day I was reading an article on the postmodernism-modernism debate. When I look at your table 7, I am curious to know whether these seven authors are modernists or postmodernists. Are modernism and postmodernism among the paradigms that you seek to integrate?

I am not sure that postmodernism is a paradigm in my sense. Postmodern movements draw on a number of more specific paradigms, e.g. Critical Theory and Psychoanalysis, and are rather loosely knit. But since you are so fond of definitions, let me first ask what you mean by postmodernism.

I thought you were a philosopher. Are you really going to tell me that you are unfamiliar with the work of the likes of Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard and Rorty?

I know them, of course, but I don’t feel confident to explicate what they have in common. Perhaps, as the prefix ‘post-’ suggests, what draws them together is a common opponent: modernism. But then we need to know what modernism was, or is.

What I took from the article I read is that postmodernists tend to believe in indeterminacy: they thrive on things such as ambiguity, difference, discontinuity and randomness. 66 But you may be right that postmodernists define themselves negatively, in terms of what is to be surpassed. These indeterminacies involve a negative element: the ‘unmaking’ of order, hierarchy, stability, and synthesis. Is that clear enough for you?

On this definition, we might say that the first three authors, who actually use the term ‘cultural citizenship’ are closer to the postmodern pole of your opposition, whereas the other, newly included, authors are closer the ‘modern’ pole. For now, let us say that in broadening the agenda we move from an one-sidedly postmodern perspective on cultural citizenship, to a more integrated perspective that also includes ‘modernists’.

But, I hasten to say, I am afraid that this schema will ultimately proof much too simple. Things will turn out to be more complex, not because postmodernism is difficult to define, but because the modern-postmodern frame does not fit the self-interpretation of almost all of my authors. Most authors identify with neither the postmodernism nor the modernism side of the division; they have a different view of what the most relevant division would be.

SECTION 3.3: The Council for Culture

We will see about that. Let us turn to the first stage of your proposed analysis. You said that you want to broaden an agenda that you feel is too narrow. What is this agenda? In other words, what it the starting point of your investigation?

I start in the Netherlands, with an agenda on cultural policy that was published a few years ago. In March 2007, the Council for Culture67 published a strategic advice with the title Innovate, participate!68, which offered the concept of cultural citizenship as a new way to think about cultural policy in the Netherlands.69 I will take up this advice as a first (narrow) proposal for an agenda on cultural citizenship, which will then be widened by turning to other publications and other authors.

I would now like to outline the descriptive section of this agenda.

That is fine with me, but remind me: what do you mean by ‘descriptive’?

I mean how the Council defines cultural citizenship, like my own attempt that frustrated you in the last chapter. But be assured, we are now zooming in on one conception at the time, which is much easier to grasp.

The Council for Culture is an advisory board of the Dutch government in the fields of “the arts, culture and media”. Its recommendations cover subsidy decisions and policies in these fields, as well as “wider cultural issues”.70 Correspondingly, the Council adopts a broad definition of culture: “the whole range of practices and customs through which members of society give their historical and social existence meaning”.71 To be concrete, Innovate, participate! deals with museums, the visual arts, archeology and landscape, archives, film, books and libraries, theatre, media, music, and dance.

If I may interrupt, I am more curious to know why the Council decided on the term ‘citizenship’, which to me is more of legal term.

I would rather say that it is political term. In my experience, most people who are not familiar with the literature on this subject find it very difficult to understand what the concept ‘citizenship’ contributes. In combination with the adjective ‘cultural’ the noun ‘citizenship’ does not mean the same thing as it does on its own. In fact, as someone with a background in political philosophy, I often feel that in combination with ‘cultural’ the concept of citizenship has lost its sting. For the Council, adoption of the term ‘citizenship’ signals a new stress on culture-political issues.72 But to me, too, it sometimes difficult to put the finger on what is political or ‘civic’ about these issues.

What is clear is that citizenship or ‘participation’73 highlights the importance of a well-informed citizenry.74 More precisely, it points to the ability of citizens to ‘find their way’ within the public domain and ‘access’ information located there. The Council sees the public domain as an information domain. Correspondingly, it regards citizenship as active participation in a collectively maintained information domain. Being able to do so should allow citizens to understand changes and continuities in their society and shape their (collective) identity. A concrete example would be the ability to use the internet to find information about the history and cultural heritage of your society. All in all, the point that the Council wants to make is that being able to understand or construct who you are is not just of artistic but also of political importance.

Dutch citizens may be better able to understand their society if they would visit the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam which, as it happens, has just been renewed – is that what you mean?

Among other things. Cultural citizenship, as the Council defines it, is about the ability of citizens to navigate and access cultural information. A key phrase that is repeated across the document is “access to sources of culture and information”.75 Museums provide access to cultural information, but so do the media, pop podia, and libraries. For example, the Council finds it just as important that historical knowledge is not locked away in archives but is accessible to all citizens. This is a ‘citizenship’ matter also in the sense that it cannot be developed by improving the government, or market processes. It is on the level of individual citizens and civic organizations that changes must be made. This requires a pro-active attitude on the part of citizens and civic organizations.

The Council draws attention to the access of cultural information, because sources of culture have become more important for the functioning of society.76 The term ‘culture’ highlights that citizenship increasingly is not only a matter of formal rights or economic autonomy, but also of everyday struggles over meaning and identity.77 Knowledge, experience and information are increasingly mediated by the media. Culture as ‘giving meaning to your existence’ and citizenship as ‘participating in the information society’ increasingly interact.

Does the Council offer an explanation for this development?

The Council points to the rise of new technologies and globalization. With the rise of new (digital) media a “new societal reality” has emerged.78 Other cultural changes that contribute to this new reality are globalization, migration and the rise of popular culture. As a result, what it means to be citizen is far from self-evident. It is no longer enough, for example, to say that I am Dutch, as I am also affected by global processes far beyond the boundaries of The Netherlands.79 My idea of what it means to be a citizen is shaped by cultural products from places and cultures all over the world.

We have inadvertently moved on to the explanatory level. Would you like us to delve deeper into that, or are you more interested in the normative assumptions behind what the Council says?

The latter. What are these assumptions?

One assumption is that religion has been substituted by the media and popular culture as the primary source of meaning and identity. If the latter do not function in this way, this is ascribed to citizens’ ability to “find” and “access” them – problems extrinsic to the sources in question. By contrast, the council claims in the case of organized religion “the well” has “dried up” – a problem intrinsic to religious sources.80 As a consequence, the Council’s conception of cultural citizenship remains closely tied to the earlier notion of ‘media wisdom’.81

A second notion is that dissolving boundaries enhances creativity and innovation, on various levels. On the national level, cultural citizenship should not stop at borders of the Netherlands, but involve participation in international cultural processes as well. The Council does recognize the value of the Dutch national heritage, but as part and parcel of “a cosmopolitan cultural climate”.82 Similarly, while the Council acknowledges the value of “continuities” provided by religion and morality, it sees dissolving artificial boundaries as the best way to bring out such continuities.83 Other boundaries that need dissolving are those between different societal sectors, cultural institutions, and citizens.

A third assumption is that if citizens have difficulty ‘reaching’ culture, it is up to the government and public institutions to ‘show them the way’. This reflects a view of autonomy as something that must first be developed through political institutions or processes: they create the conditions under which citizens are able to find and choose for themselves the sources of culture and information that they need. 84

In my own mind, I am sure that the second assumption you specify betrays a postmodern conviction and perhaps the first assumption as well. Dissolving boundaries is clearly a form of ‘unmaking’. Similarly, skepticism about the viability of established religion may very well reflect a general distrust of hierarchy and order. What do you think?

You may be right in this case, although it is difficult to say for a group of people that is internally diverse. The Council for Culture does not describe its advice as postmodern, but I don’t know that they would object to that description either.

Either way, the point you are pressing is not the only one possible. That you pick out this aspect of the advice also says something about you. You should be aware that you look at the debate through a particular lens, which makes some features stand out, while others recede into the background. For example, I don’t hear you float the idea that the Council has a one-sided focus on public institutions rather than private actors and companies, which is a totally different division that might be just as important.

Let’s leave it at that. How does all this add up to an agenda?

The advice of the Council for Culture suggests to me three questions, which together form a first proposal for a research agenda (see table 8 below).


1 Hannah Arendt, “Philosophy and Politics” (1990).

2 Traditionally, ‘citizenship’ referred to legal membership of a political community. But be aware that in combination with ‘cultural’ it has often little to do with legal membership or state politics. Instead, it may refer to membership in cultural organizations, or being active and visible in the media.

3 From §1.2 onwards, and with the exception of chapters 4 and 5.

4 I use as a representational strategy a conceptual process that has been described in cognitive linguistics, called fictive interaction. The process involves using the schematic structure of face-to-face communication to organize thinking about more abstract domains. It was first described by Pascual, Imaginary Trialogues: Conceptual Blending and Fictive Interaction in Criminal Courts (2002). She defines ‘fictive interaction’ as follows: “the use of the schematic interactional structure of ordinary communication as an organizing pattern which can serve to conceptualize, reason, and talk about communicative as well as non-communicative entities, processes and relationships in conversational terms” (p. 1). Her view is that, as a matter of fact, key elements of the structure of the language we use derive from our experience with human interaction. I use this phenomenon as a strategy to render the text more accessible to a wide audience.

5 As Line Brandt points out, it is common in philosophy to think and talk about differences between thinkers from different times and places as an ongoing debate. In some cases this philosophical ‘debate’ is construed as a real-time simultaneous conversation. Cf. Brandt, “A semiotic approach to fictive interaction as a representational strategy in communicative meaning construction” (2008), and idem, The Communicative Mind: A Linguistic Exploration of Conceptual Integration and Meaning Construction (2013), p. 122-124. Brandt cites an example in which a modern philosopher engages in a real-time ‘dialogue’ with Kant. On this example, see Fauconnier & Turner, The way we think: conceptual blending and the mind's hidden complexities (2002) p. 59-62. On the use of the dialogue form in philosophy, see also Hyland, “Why Plato wrote dialogues” (1968).

6 See Fløttum et. al. “ ‘We now report on…’ Versus ‘Let us now see how...’: Author Roles and Interaction with Readers in Research Articles” (2005); Hyland, “Bringing in the Reader: Addressee Features in Academic Articles” (2001).

7 ‘Fictive’ here does not mean fictitious, but refers to a mental construct that is half-way between ‘real’ and ‘imaginary’. The intended referent (the discourse on cultural citizenship) is real, but it is mentally accessed via the different (and in that sense non-genuine) experience of a real-life dialogue. Cf. Pascual, Imaginary Trialogues, p. 4-5. On this notion of ‘fictivity’, see Talmy, “Fictive motion in language and 'ception'” (1996).

8 Roggeband & Vliegenthart, "Divergent framing: The public debate on migration in the Dutch parliament and media, 1995–2004" (2007). Their research shows that framings in the Dutch parliament have been more diverse than framings in the media, which have been dominated by the Islam-as-threat frame.

See also Shadid, “Public debates over Islam and the awareness of Muslim identity in the Netherlands” (2006). Shadid shows that although Muslims have been present in the Netherlands since the 1960’s, they were initially neglected, and only became stigmatized until the 1990’s. For a recent analysis of the interplay between culture and power in the Dutch integration debate, see Uitermark, Dynamics of Power in Dutch Integration Politics: From Accommodation to Confrontation (2012).

9 See Dronkers, “The Netherlands: One Nation Under God? Christendom, Citizenship and the Re-Sacralization of National Loyalty” (2011); Schinkel, "The Moralisation of Citizenship in Dutch Integration Discourse" (2009).

Debates over dual citizenship are a case in point. The Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders in particular has raised questions about the civic loyalty of politicians with two passports. See De Hart, “The End of Multiculturalism: The End of Dual Citizenship? Political and Public Debates on Dual Citizenship in The Netherlands (1980-2004).

10 Verkuyten & Martinovic, "Immigrants’ National Identification: Meanings, Determinants, and Consequences" (2011); Verkuyten & Yidiz, "National (Dis)identification and Ethnic and Religious Identity: A Study Among Turkish-Dutch Muslims" (2007). National self-identification by the majority is also not a given, but is mediated by salient representations of the nation. See Smeekes et al. "Mobilizing opposition towards Muslim immigrants: National identification and the representation of national history" (2011)

11 Psychological research shows that ordinary citizens have a much more stable and positive attitude towards multiculturalism than public debates in the media and Parliament and may suggest. Cf. Breugelmans et. al., "Stability of Majority Attitudes toward Multiculturalism in the Netherlands between 1999 and 2007" (2009) Schalk ‐ Soekar et. al., "The concept of multiculturalism: A study among Dutch majority members" (2008)

12 Penninx, “Dutch immigrant policies before and after the Van Gogh murder” (2006).

13 There is wide agreement that some backlash against multiculturalism has taken place in the Netherlands. See e.g. Prins, "The nerve to break taboos: new realism in the Dutch discourse on multiculturalism" (2002); Vasta, "From ethnic minorities to ethnic majority policy: Multiculturalism and the shift to assimilationism in the Netherlands" (2007); Entzinger, "Changing the rules while the game is on; From multiculturalism to assimilation in the Netherlands" (2006); Prins & Saharso, “From toleration to repression: the Dutch backlash against multiculturalism” (2010); Alexander, “Struggling over the mode of incorporation: backlash against multiculturalism in Europe” (2013)

There is some disagreement, however, about the magnitude of this shift. Some Dutch scholars argue that the Netherland never were very multicultural to begin with. Cf. Duvyendak et. al. (2012), "Deconstructing the Dutch multicultural model: A frame perspective on Dutch immigrant integration policymaking"; Duyvendak et. al., "Questioning the Dutch multicultural model of immigrant integration" (2009); See also, Vink, "Dutch Multiculturalism: Beyond the Pillarisation Myth" (2007).

Will Kymlicka claims that the backlash against multiculturalism, in the Netherlands and elsewhere, is not as severe as is often suggested. Kymlicka, "The rise and fall of multiculturalism? New debates on inclusion and accommodation in diverse societies" (2010); idem, “Review of Paul Sniderman and Louk Hagendoorn’s When Ways of Life Collide: Multiculturalism and its Discontents (2008)

14 E.g. Bergman & Van Zoonen, “Fishing with false teeth: women, gender and the Internet” (1999); Peter & Valkenburg, "Adolescents’ Exposure to a Sexualized Media Environment and Their Notions of Women as Sex Objects" (2005); Ter Bogt et. al. “Shake It Baby, Shake It”: Media preferences, sexual attitudes and gender stereotypes among adolescents" (2010)

15 Buijs & Hekma, “’As long as they keep away from me': The paradox of antigay violence in a gay-friendly country” (2011)

16 Bohemen et. al. "Seculiere intolerantie: Morele progressiviteit en afwijzing van de islam in Nederland" (2012); Hekma, "Queers and Muslims: The Dutch Case" (2011); Mepschen et. al., "Sexual Politics, Orientalism and Multicultural Citizenship in the Netherlands" (2010); Duyvendak. et. al., “Culturalization of citizenship in the Netherlands” (2009); Roggeband & Verloo, “Dutch women are liberated, migrant women are a problem: the evolution of policy frames on gender and migration in the Netherlands, 1995–2005” (2007); Spruyt, “‘Can’t We Discuss This?’ Liberalism and the Challenge of Islam in the Netherlands” (2007); Duyvendak et. al., "A multicultural paradise? The cultural factor in Dutch integration policy" (2005); Hekma, “Imams and homosexuality: A post-gay debate in the Netherlands” (2002)

17 Ootes, "Being in place: Citizenship in long-term mental healthcare" (2012); Duyvendak, "New frontiers for identity politics? The potential and pitfalls of patient and civic identity in the Dutch patients' health movement" (2007); Houten & Bellemakers, "Equal citizenship for all. Disability policies in the Netherlands: Empowerment of marginals" (2002)

18 Oosterhuis “Self Development and Civic Virtue: Mental Health and Citizenship in the Netherlands (1945–2005)” (2007); Pols, “Washing the citizen: washing, cleanliness and citizenship in mental health care” (2006); Kal, “Kwartiermaken, creating space for otherness” (2012)

19 Cf. Raad voor Cultuur, “Innoveren, Participeren!” (2007)

20 Cf. Boomkens, “Cultural citizenship and real politics: the Dutch case” (2010)

21 See van Santen, Popularization and personalization: a historical and cultural analysis of 50 years of Dutch political television journalism (2012). Her conclusion is that there concerns about the popularization of political journalism and personalization of politics are unjustified. See further Van Santen & Vliegenthart, "From political information to political entertainment? Political TV-program genres in Dutch election periods, 1956-2006" (2010); Van Zoonen & Holtz-Bacha, “Personalization in Dutch and German Politics: the case of the talkshow” (2000)

22 See Waaldijk, “Talen naar cultuur: burgerschap en de letterenstudies” (2005); Veugelers, "A humanist perspective on moral development and citizenship education"(2011) ; Miedema Bertram‐Troost, “Democratic citizenship and religious education: challenges and perspectives for schools in the Netherlands” (2008); Ter Avest & Miedema, "Religious citizenship education. Towards a new post-pillarized approach for all schools in the Netherlands" (2011)

23 In cognitive linguistic terms, both debates are ‘fictive realities’ in the sense that they project schematic structure from genuinely situated debates unto the different reality of written discourse. Only debate2 is in addition ‘counterfactual’: it is an unrealized scenario I use to evaluate the actual development of this discourse. In the counterfactual scenario the range of participants in the ‘debate’ is much wider than in the actual discourse. On the use of counterfactuals to frame research, see Turner, “Counterfactual Blends as Instruments of Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences” (1996). On ‘fictive realities’, see Langacker, “Virtual reality” (1999).

24 I am not the first to call for a broadening of the cultural citizenship debate. Indeed, a recent volume on does exactly that, see Cultural Citizenship in Political Theory (2010), eds. Vega & Boele van Hensbroek. The authors of this volume aim to “stretch the political-theoretical discussion of cultural citizenship beyond the narrow agenda of contemporary liberal discourse” (p.5). Their concern is that the writings of political philosophers such as Will Kymlicka and Charles Taylor, are one-sidedly liberal. There is, however, another way to frame the debate. Philosophers such as Kymlicka and Taylor articulate a link between culture and citizenship, but do not use the precise word combination ‘cultural citizenship’. I focus instead on people who do use this phrase, i.e. scholars in the social sciences and humanities, and policy makers. Framed thus, the debate is not one-sidedly liberal but one-sidedly postmodern, and the challenge is to make room for other, so-called ‘modernist’, perspectives. Moreover, this debate is not at all limited to political theory, but rather spans a wide range of disciplines within the human and social sciences, and in addition includes proposals made by societal actors.

25 Methodically, I draw on Bergmann et. al, Methods for transdisciplinary research: a primer for practice (2012). Originally published in German as idem, Methoden transdisziplinärer Forschung: Ein Überblick mit Anwendungsbeispielen (2010).

26 This is a break with linguistic approaches that dominated the 20th century, which regarded language as symbolic signs or processes unique to the so-called ‘language faculty’ and thus unrelated to the rest of what happens in the mind.

27 In cognitive linguistics, the idea that everyday physical experience constrains cognition and language was first developed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. See Johnson, The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination and Reason (1987); Lakoff & Johnson, Philosophy In The Flesh: the Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought (1999); idem, "Why cognitive linguistics requires embodied realism" (2002). On situated intersubjectivity as a constraint on cognition and language, see Verhagen, Constructions of Intersubjectivity: Discourse, Syntax, and Cognition (2005); Zlatev. et al., The Shared Mind: Perspectives on Intersubjectivity (2008); Dancygier, & Sweetser (eds.), Viewpoint in Language: A Multimodal Perspective (2012); Pascual, Fictive Interaction: The Conversation Frame in Thought and Language (forthcoming); On the relationship between embodiment and intersubjectivity, see Zlatev, “What is in a schema? Bodily mimesis and the grounding of language” (2005); idem, “Embodiment, language and mimesis” (2007); idem, “Phenomenology and cognitive linguistics” (2010). See further Kimmel, Metaphor, Imagery, and Culture. Spatialized Ontologies, Mental Tools, and Multimedia in the Making (2002); idem, “Culture regained: situated and compound image schemas” (2005); idem, "Properties of Cultural Embodiment: Lessons from the Anthropology of the Body” (2008); Regarding the philosophical tradition, Cognitive Linguistics has affinities with pragmatism (William James), perceptual phenomenology (Merleau-Ponty) and authorial hermeneutics (Ditlhey). On James, see Tim Rohrer "Pragmatism, Ideology and Embodiment: William James and the philosophical foundations of cognitive linguistics" (1996). On Merleau-Ponty, see Johnson, “Merleau-Ponty’s Embodied Semantics: From Immanent Meaning, to Gesture, to Language” (2006), and Sambre, “Fleshing out embodied language and intersubjectivity: An exploration of Merleau-Ponty's legacy to cognitive linguistics” (2012). On Dilthey, see Geeraerts, “The return of hermeneutics to lexical semantics” (1992).

28 The second level is that of activism. It involves citizens, politicians, and interest groups, who are actually negotiating issues of cultural citizenship. They may not explicitly be using the word citizenship, but they are claiming cultural citizenship for themselves, or denying it to others. The third level is that of experience, specifically pre-reflective and pre-discursive experience. Before we start talking and arguing about it we may already be caught up in issues of cultural citizenship: we are appearing to others, and participating in a shared and public world (or we fail to). Think of looks of disgust at two gay men who are kissing in the street, or the inaccessibility of a museum to someone in a wheelchair.

29 Scientists and policy makers are never so detached that they cease to be citizens, and human beings, which makes it impossible to separate these levels entirely. When they are writing on cultural citizenship, they may also be claiming cultural citizenship for certain groups. For example, I will discuss the work of Renato Rosaldo, whose reflections on cultural citizenship at the same time claims a fuller citizenship for Latinos in the USA. In addition, most of the authors I discuss use basic experiences to think about culture and citizenship. A case in point is Paul Scheffer, a Dutch author, who uses fragile objects that are in danger of falling apart as a metaphor for Dutch society. But that is still different from focusing on activism or experience directly.

30 Unlike legal citizenship, cultural citizenship is a graded concept. It involves the degree to which group members are represented by themselves and others as a citizen. Group members may be represented as a ‘full’ citizen (that is, without qualification), as a ‘lesser’ citizen, or as not a citizen at all.

31 To be precise, Gallie’s theory was not restricted to political concepts but also applied to concepts in the humanities and social sciences more generally.

32 William B. Gallie, "Essentially Contested Concepts" (1956). To be clear, I do not subscribe to Gallie’s view of concepts as rationally constructed categories with fixed boundaries. Nor do I concur that only a special subset of concepts are contested. Research in categorization has shown that most if not all concepts have fuzzy boundaries and are prone to different interpretations. Even so, the idea of essentially contested concepts remains valuable if it is taken to mean that ambiguous concepts have a prototypical core, and that political concepts are especially prone to contestation. Cf. Paul Chilton, “Political terminology” (2006). The notion of ‘essentially contested concepts’ has been integrated within a cognitive linguistic framework by George Lakoff, in Thinking Points (2006) and Whose Freedom (2007). On earlier suggestions by George Lakoff, see Alan Schwartz, Contested Concepts in Cognitive Social Science (1992), and Jason Patent, “A Unified Account of Essentially Contested Concepts” (2001).

33 Following Lakoff, Whose Freedom (2007), p. 23-34. I seek to liberate the term ‘uncontested core’ from his cognitive linguistic assumptions about how that core is represented (i.e. as a so-called ‘image schema’).

34 In analytical political philosophy, Gallie’s distinction between ‘concept’ and ‘conception' has been made famous by John Rawls, who employs it in A Theory of Justice[1971], p. 5., and Ronald Dworkin, who applies it in Taking Rights Seriously (1977), p. 132-137.

35 William V. Flores & Rina Benmayor, “Constructing Cultural Citizenship” (1997), p. 6

36 Ibid.

37 Vega & Boele Van Hensbroek, “The agendas of cultural citizenship” (2010), p. 245. The authors caution that, so understood, the concept “broaches a very general problematic”, after all, “it is not too difficult to bring several such links to mind”. For this reason, they readily move on to a much thicker conception of cultural citizenship. I agree that such a general understanding of the concept does not offer enough guidance for developing a theory of cultural citizenship. But the minimal guidance it does offer may still be suited for a transdisciplinary debate, which has different objectives.

38 Following Lakoff, Whose Freedom (2007), p. 23-34. Lakoff claims that essentially contested concepts have an uncontested core which consists of an ‘image schema’: a non-propositional pattern that provides meaningful organization on the level of perception and motor activity. This claim follows from his assumption that meaning is constrained and enabled by embodied experience. For a philosophical defense of image schema theory, see Mark Johnson, The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason (1987), and more recently his "The philosophical significance of image schemas" (2005). In linguistics, see George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind (1987). What is important for my current analysis is the basic idea of a schema, not so much the specific (embodied) nature of the constraints it involves according to Johnson and Lakoff.

39 My explanation will draw on Michael Kimmel. He is an anthropologist who (like me) comes to cognitive linguistics from the outside, and who has a way of explaining technical concepts in cognitive linguistics in a way that is more accessible to non-linguists. I will rely on his dissertation: Kimmel, Metaphor, Imagery, and Culture. Spatialized Ontologies, Mental Tools, and Multimedia in the Making (2002). Kimmel explains that a complex concept (such as cultural citizenship) can be represented as a network of ‘mental spaces’ (see p.358-360). It should be pointed out that mental spaces have nothing to do with spatial cognition or physical space. Rather, these ‘spaces’ refer to conceptual domains within which linguistic and other sorts of information can be conceptualized (reality, fiction, dream, desire). ‘Culture’ and ‘citizenship’ constitute, in and of themselves, two different mental spaces. These spaces have their own features, but may be mapped with each other and fused in a conceptual integration network. Depending on context, different aspects of both domains may be recruited in the integration, which explains why ‘cultural citizenship’ means different things in different disciplines. The idea of ‘mental spaces’ originates with Gilles Fauconnier, Mental Spaces (1985).

40 Following Kimmel, I draw on the so-called the ‘spatialization of form hypothesis’: the idea that people use generic multipurpose schemas to structure the relationships between abstract concepts. On this view, the conceptual structures that organize the relations between concepts are not unique for abstract thought, but derive from existing schemas, e.g. image-schemas that derive from perception and motor-control. See George Lakoff, Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind (1987). Cf. Kimmel, Metaphor, Imagery, and Culture., p. 339-345.

41 On the distinction between content- and form-schemas, see Kimmel, Metaphor, Imagery, and Culture, p. 350-356.

42 Ibid., p. 350

43 In cognitive linguistic terms, in isolation, they have only (image) schematic structure, which can take on a number of instantiations when used in a particular context.

44 Cf. Wisniewski, "Construal and Similarity in Conceptual Combination" (1996)

45 Following Kimmel, understanding ‘cultural citizenship’ involves bringing two mental spaces from a state of disconnection into a state of spatial coincidence (see p. 406). When you first encounter the term ‘cultural citizenship’ the concepts of ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ are spatially distinct. It they can be related it is only as abstract ‘tokens’. You understand that a connection between ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ is required, but you cannot yet see or select a connection both meaningful and relevant. You may either fail to see any possible connection, or see several possibilities at the same time, without being able to choose between them. The relevant meaning is grasped when the relevant features of ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ are embedded in a foreground space that connects them, while the other qualities recede in a background space (Fauconnier calls it the Base or Parent space). The foreground space ‘imbues’ the abstract tokens with concrete qualities. In other words, the disciplinary conception introduces a temporary focus: some qualities of the constituent concepts are foregrounded, while other qualities recede in the cognitive background. For detailed cognitive-linguistic descriptions of this process in adjective-noun compounds (such as ‘cultural citizenship’), see Fillmore, “Frame semantics” (1982); Coulson & Fauconnier “Fake Guns and Stone Lions: Conceptual Blending and Privative Adjectives” (1999); Sweetser “Compositionality and blending: semantic composition in a cognitively realistic framework” (1999); Tribushinina, Cognitive reference points: Semantics beyond the prototypes in adjectives of space and colour (2008); idem, “Reference points in adjective-noun conceptual integration networks” (2011). This literature analyses combining adjectives and nouns as a special case of conceptual integration, and draws on a development of Mental Space Theory (called Blending Theory), which emphasizes the emergence of new meaning from the partial integration of small pockets of meaning. This kind of analysis makes two contributions. First, it shows and explains that the meaning of the nominal compound ‘cultural citizenship’ is not always reducible to the sum of its parts (‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’). Instead, finding a suitable connection between ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ may require considerable conceptual restructuring. The ‘focus’ that Kimmel talks about (Sweetser and Tribushina call it ‘active zone’, following Langacker and the terminology of cognitive grammar) need not light up qualities that were already part of the constituent concepts prior to the integration, but may imbue them with new qualities. For example, citizenship may now refer to ‘digitally accessing a museum collection’, even though citizenship has little to do with surfing the internet in other contexts. This may be why people often find the contribution of the second half of the term ‘cultural citizenship’ difficult to understand. This literature further clarifies the role of the context in separating the active or foregrounded qualities from those that are passive of backgrounded. Which qualities are active or foregrounded, and will be involved in the integration depends on the context of use. For my transdisciplinary approach, it is important that these contexts of use vary in scope, and that the scope of the concept of cultural citizenship may vary accordingly. Highly specialized contexts of use will focus on a more narrow range of qualities than less circumscribed contexts.

46 The key publication is Flores & Benmayor (eds.), Latino Cultural Citizenship: Claiming Identity, Space, and Rights (1998). I will focus on Renato Rosaldo. I will fully introduce his work in chapter 2.

47 For example Toby Miller, Technologies of truth: Cultural citizenship and the popular media (1998); idem, Cultural citizenship: Cosmopolitanism, consumerism, and television in a neoliberal age (2007); Nick Stevenson, “Culture and citizenship: an introduction” (2001); idem, Cultural Citizenship: Cosmopolitan Questions (2003). I will focus on Nick Stevenson, whom I will fully introduce in chapter 2.

48 Regional and international developments may factor in to it insofar they play a role on the national stage.

49 In cognitive linguistic terms, this switching process can be described as a shift in experiential detail. I will draw on Kimmel, Metaphor, Imagery, and Culture. Spatialized Ontologies, Mental Tools, and Multimedia in the Making (2002). Kimmels description involves three claims. The first claim is that complex concepts consist of an array of linked sub-concepts. See note 37 above. Kimmel’s second claim is that the structures internal to ‘mental spaces’ are richer in experiential detail than the overall structure between them. This means that the structure of ‘cultural citizenship’ is more abstract than the structure of ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ individually. From this follows the third claim: “in order to form an image of complex concepts, we have to broaden our mental scope and zoom away from the details” (p. 367). Now, the difference between disciplinary conceptions and a transdisciplinary concept is that they zoom out to a different degree. In the case of disciplinary conceptions, zooming out from the details of culture and citizenship is a temporary stage, which is necessary to distance yourself from established structure in which ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ are apart, but which is subsequently overcome in a process of selecting relevant details. Understanding a transdisciplinary concept involves a different cognitive process. Here, to form an image of the abstract concept all qualities of the constituent concepts ‘culture’ and ‘citizenship’ must fade into the background, until you are left with nothing but the very schematic overall structure that connects them (see p. 367). In technical terms, the ‘frames’ and ‘cognitive models’ that structure the constituent ‘mental spaces’ are completely backgrounded, until only the overall structure of the connectors that link them together is mentally retained. This overall structure may be represented as an abstract image-schema.

50 The term ‘boundary object’ originates with Star & Griesemer, “Institutional Ecology, ‘Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39” (1989). They stress that boundary objects “both inhabit several intersecting social worlds … and satisfy the informational requirements of each of them” (p. 393). Because they facilitate both cooperation and diversity, boundary objects have much to contribute to integrative research. Star & Griesemer build on Actor-Network Theory in Science and Technology Studies. They are specifically indebted to Latour, Science in action (1987), and Callon, “Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St Brieuc Bay” (1986).

51 Ibid., p. 393

52 How stable and clear-cut the boundaries between disciplines is open to debate, they may be thought of as neat boxes with fixed boundaries or as fluid continuums. I am not invested in any one these positions, but I do maintain that it is meaningful to talk about distinctive disciplines.

53 There are many different definitions out there and the distinction between inter-, trans- and monodisciplinarity is far from stable. For classification, see Klein, “”A taxonomy of interdisciplinarity” (2010).

54 For recent overviews, see e.g. Frodeman (ed.), The Oxford Hanbook of Interdisciplinarity (2010), and Repko, Interdisciplinary Research: Process and Theory (2008). My definition draws on Repko. For an philosophical discussion, see Schmitt, “Towards a philosophy of interdisciplinary: An attempt to provide a classification and clarification” (2008).

55 See e.g. Leavy, Essentials of Transdisciplinary Research: Using Problem-Centered Methodologies (2011)

56 To be precise, I mean by this the use of schematic structure and methodology from concrete face-to-face transdisciplinary communication to think about more abstract interactions between heterogeneous bodies of knowledge.

57 The agency of the participants is an aspect of face-to-face transdisciplinary communication that cannot be projected onto the more abstract interaction.

58 Cf. Jahn, “Transdisciplinarity in the research practice” (2008), p. 32

59 For an overview, see Bergmann et. Al, Methods for Transdisciplinary Research (2010).

60 Cf. Bergman et. al., Methods for Transdisciplinary Research (2012), p. 74.

61 Ibid., p. 109-110. Collecting questions from a wide range of sources is a confirmed way to achieve a common understanding of a problem situation, such as ‘the Dutch windmill’.

62 Cf. Alvesson & Sandberg, Constructing Research Questions, p. 14-16.

63 Cf. the principles described in Bergman et. al., Methods for Transdisciplinary Research, p. 110-112.

64 Compare the group processes outlined in Bergman et. al., Methods for Transdisciplinary Research, p. 74.

65 This balancing act can systematically be analyzed with a theory in cognitive linguistics called Blending Theory. It suggests that research questions must balance two demands: connecting with established bodies of knowledge and maintaining a distance from them. In Blending Theory they are represented as ‘counterfactual blends’ in which two axes intersect: an axis of similarity between the input spaces and an axis of distance between the wider domains from which these inputs are drawn. Cf. Mark Turner, “Counterfactual Blends as Instruments of Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences” (1996), and Cornelissen & Durand, “More Than Just Novelty: Conceptual Blending and Causality” (2012). Note that the integrative effect will not derive from the linguistic description. It comes from going back and forth, in my imagination, between the various participants, as if dividing my attention in a meeting in which they all participate.

66 For a similar (but much more complex) definition, see Hassan, “Toward a concept of postmodernism” (1993). To avoid confusion, this definition would not be mine, as should become clear in what follows. Indeed, it seems to go against the grain of postmodern movements to define them in terms of binary oppositions. In addition, the definition covers only one aspect of postmodernism.


68 Raad voor Cultuur, Innoveren, participeren! Advies agenda cultuurbeleid en culturele infrastructuur (2007) [Innovate Participate. Advisory agenda on cultural policy and cultural infrastructure] (2007a). The Council has provided an English summary: Raad voor Cultuur, Innovate, Participate! (2007). On the background of the document, see Boomkens, “Cultural citizenship and real politics: the Dutch case” (2010).

69 A similar term, ‘new cultural citizenship’ is used by Interart, a Dutch art foundation that aims to promote interdisciplinary and intercultural projects and debates. They have published a series of short texts on the issue, which I have not included in my research.

70 The question of the Dutch government that led to the advice reflects this wide scope: “What problems should … be resolved with priority within the culture as whole …and what are promising developments the cultural policy of the government might take advantage of?” Innoveren, participeren, p. 3

71 Cf. Werk- en adviesprogramma van de Raad voor Cultuur, 2006-2009, p 9. The 2007 advice refers to this definition at p.12 note 3. The orginal Dutch: “het geheel van praktijken en gebruiken waarmee de leden van de samenleving betekenis verlenen aan hun historische en sociale bestaan”

72 “More than in the past the Council will consider issues of a cultural-political nature”, Innoveren, Pariciperen, p. 3

73 This synonym occurs in Innovate, participate! in various combinations: cultural participation, societal participation and art participation

74 “Democratic and cultural citizenship stands or falls on well-informed citizens, and, by extension, on institutions that provide unhindered and mediating access to sources of culture and information”, Innoveren, Pariciperen, p. 4, 26, 94

75 Innoveren, Pariciperen, p. 4, 26, 65,68, 92, 94.

76 Ibid., p. 4

77 Ibid., p. 4, 13

78 Ibid., p. 12.

79 p. 13, see also p. 4

80 Ibid., p. 2. The Council makes this claim on the basis of Kronjee en Lampert, “Leeftstijlen en zingeving” (2006). The claim remains controversial, however. For example, a different article in the same collection claims that religious judgments and organized religion continue to be an important source of personal and collective identity. Cf. Borgman, “De onlosmakelijke verbondenheid van religie en publiek domein” (2006)

81 The term media wisdom was introduced two years earlier, to replace the concept of ‘media education’ that the Council used before. Raad voor Cultuur, Mediawijsheid: de ontwikkeling van nieuw burgerschap [Media wisdom: the development of new citizenship] (2005).

82 Innoveren, participeren! p. 12

83 Ibid., p. 11-12

84 Ibid., p. 2,


ISBN (eBook)
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Institution / Hochschule
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen – Faculty of Philosophy
2014 (Oktober)
cultural citizenship culture citizenship political philosophy cultural sociology cultural anthropology cultural studies

Titel: Cultural Citizenship. An Integrative Agenda for a Transdisciplinary Debate