- The nation is occupied, the city can be claimed
- The International RC21 conference 2011
- Book/source title
- Annual RC21 Conference 2011: The struggle to belong: dealing with diversity in 21st century urban settings: Amsterdam (The Netherlands), July 7-9 2011. - 19: Scales of citizenship
- Research Committee 21, International Sociological Association
- Document type
- Conference contribution
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Citizens attach different emotions to the local than to the national scale. The nation is an electrical structure that tends to divide native-born citizens and immigrants. Natives easily claim the nation on the basis of a closed and abstract conception of culture, rather than on actual experiences. Immigrants can touch the nation only at their own risk. But the city is a rather practical, not too emotionally charged unit. The city provides the practicalities of daily life and the joys and sorrows that come with them. As personal experiences are crucial to feeling at home in a city, citizens can tinker with local identity to their liking. We have to rethink criticism of liberalism on the basis of these findings, with more understanding of the engagement that is actually higher than foreseen and longing for dialogue that is actually smaller than foreseen.
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