What Mean to be “Citizen”? Ethnographic Investigations about the Various Modes of Exercise of Citizenship in France

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Booth 45
Oral Presentation
Lorenzo BARRAULT , University of Strasbourg, Researcher CNRS, Paris, France
The citizenship was the object of an abundant literature in political science since the first steps of this discipline. Beyond the philosophical and conceptual controversies, I made the choice to conduct several investigations of field to observe since 2006 the methods by which the citizens in France, in their diversity, exercise their political prerogatives. While having recourse to interviews-in depth repeated in time (in ordinary period and in electoral situation from a compared point of view), to ethnographic observations within various authorities where the citizens are invited to take part (dialogue, devices of the “participative democracy” today in full rise, etc) and within the framework of local associations, like that questionnaires, I studied the practical relationships to the politics, to the local institutions and to the State of citizens from different social and ethnic groups in France. These ethnographic investigations underline a plurality of forms of citizenship. French citizens appear in various ways integrated into the political system according to their social and ethnic membership, their local sociabilities and their militant experiences. They are thus very unequal from the point of view to their participation in the democratic authorities as the vote, the social movements, the associative commitment, or the contacting. Although the forms of citizenship evolve historically in France, the diversity of the attitudes in front of the political system and to the public policies remains a constant. The contemporary citizenship lets room to a plurality of manners of being “citizens” which is consubstantial from democratic systems.