23 SES 12 A, The State of Play of Active Citizenship in Europe: Concepts, Policy, Engagement and the effects of the Economic Crises
In Denmark, the term of ‘citizenship’ first occurred in a government work program in 2007 in the context of ‘extremism and radicalization’. Until recently, the European Union understanding of the dimensions of the citizenship had modest impact on the citizenship discourse in Denmark. But this is now changing. The growing awareness of citizenship is connected to anxieties of the effects of neoliberal governance on participatory democracy and the welfare state; and of the effects of globalization and migration on national (including political) culture. Two scientific meanings of ‘citizenship’ are mirrored in Danish political reality: Democratic (political and social) citizenship referring to pluralistic values and obligations of democracy and ‘Co-citizenship’ referring to a culture and identity based on notions of the social community. The term ‘citizenship’ tended to be used by the centre-right governments in power from 2001 to 2011 in a protective cultural discourse stressing Danish or Christian values – sometimes as an ‘antidote’ against globalization, and often as a warning against multiculturalism and the influence of Islam. The 2011 Centre-left government has adopted a multicultural understanding of citizenship focusing on democracy and social equality. Thus, the new official political stance appears as converging with EU notions of active citizenship.
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