The Cultural Citizenship Scale, a milestone of InCommon project

curso1The Cultural Citizenship Scale (CCS) is intended as an individual guidance methodology for counsellors and practitioners that works with migrant women on integration issues that helps them to provide personal assessment and effective methods to support women in their pathway to the full exercise of active citizenship. This scale will be applied along the project to assist beneficiaries of the project and design activities according to their needs.

The CCS is a combination of the Active Citizenship Scale, firstly introduced in the framework of the EMKit project, with the Key Competences of the European Reference Framework.

Active Citizenship and Key Competences of ERF

Active citizenship is a concept applied to all those people who make up a community and who display a behaviour that is committed to everything that happens in it. That is, the active citizen is absolutely involved in all matters that concern the community in which he/she lives and participates accordingly.

According to the Council of Europe, Active Citizenship is also a form of literacy : coping with what happens in public life, developing knowledge, understanding, critical thinking and independent judgement of local, national, European, global levels. It implies action and empowerment, i.e. acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes, being able and willing to use them, make decisions, take action individually and collectively.

It will help us to deepen in this concept to distinguish the four dimensions that can be given in the individual / society relationship (Ruud Veldhuis, 2003) and are essential for its existence :

  • The political dimension which refers to political rights and duties and it means a knowledge of the political systems and the promotion of democratic attitudes and participatory skills.
  • The social dimension of citizenship that has to do with the behaviour between individuals and in close relation with the development of social and interpersonal skills.
  • The cultural dimension refers to the awareness of a common cultural heritage. The knowledge of cultural heritage, the development of skills that help to appreciate and enjoy works of art on a broad definition of culture and the ability to express oneself creatively are the keys for the fulfilment of this dimension.
  • Finally, the economic dimension of citizenship implies the right to work and to get a minimum subsistence level. Education/vocational training and economic skills are part of the economic dimension.

 

The active citizenship is attained through the balance and equal exercise of each one of these dimensions. Something that can be achieved through a process of socialization and the development of the key skills related.

Likewise, the European Commission established in 2006 -revised in May 2018 by the Council of the European Union, the Key Competences of the European Reference Framework . These competences are a tool for “inclusive education, training and lifelong learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that allow full participation in society and successful transitions in the labour market”.

The European Reference Framework sets out eight key competences:

1. Literacy competence.

2. Multilingual competence.

3. Mathematical competence and competence in science, technology and engineering.

4. Digital competence.

5. Personal, social and learning to learn competence.

6. Citizenship competence.

7. Entrepreneurship competence.

8. Cultural awareness and expression competence.

 

In the context of the InCommon project, to fulfil the active citizenship only through the process of socialization and training might be a mission impossible. Migrant women should have to overcome numerous and diverse barriers, starting with language, cultural norms, the emotional implications of migration and adaptation to change, even in some cases racism and discrimination, precariousness, economical issues etc. But similarly, this theoretical framework helps us to define what the ultimate goal of the citizenship is and to lay the foundations of those competences and skills that can equip migrant women to overcome these barriers.

The relationship between the dimension in which citizenship develops and key competences is clear and useful for our purpose:

  • Thus, the political dimension is close to Citizenship competence (KC6).
  • Social dimension coincides with KC5, Personal, social and learning to learn competence.
  • And cultural dimension correlates with KC8, Cultural awareness and expression competence.

 

The Key Competences are a core concept of the project and for that reason are included in the Cultural Citizenship Scale and are the main subject of the training curriculum and material for migrant women that will be part of InCommon Toolbox final result.

 

Towards the concept of cultural citizenship

In the InCommon project, we understand culture in a sense that goes beyond the cultural dimension of citizenship:

“Culture is the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or social group. It includes not only the arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs”. World Conference on Cultural Policies, Mexico City, 06 August 1982

Accordingly to this concept, it means:

  • The recognition of the intrinsic value of each culture and the cultural identity of each community / person, which means adopting cultural diversity and pluralism as essential elements of social construction.
  • The awareness of culture as a common value. Culture emerges from the community and must return to it, this leads to the idea of cultural democracy and the participation of individuals and society in the creation of cultural goods and in making decisions regarding cultural life.

 

On the other hand, culture must be understood as a dynamic process. Distinctive features, values or modes of conduct do not remain static over time and they evolve according to social agreements, influences of other cultures or social/historical circumstances.

The consequence of these ideas in the guidance methodology of the Cultural Citizenship Scale means:

  • The guidance process involves the development of a critical thinking and reflection in migrant women about the cultural processes of their own culture and that of the host community. That will have different incidence according to the stage of the scale in which they are located.
  • Cultural participation should never assume for immigrant women assimilation or isolation, but rather the awareness of what different cultures contribute to the construction of a plural and diverse common society, and specifically of their personal contribution.
  • The activities and training of the social inclusion process, beyond the acquisition of skills, must lead to the objectives outlined above.

 

As a result, the guidance pathway must lead to migrant women feeling safe and enable to participate and interact independently in the cultural life of the host community. They should feel that are part of the community, which means being able to influence and participate in their development.

Cultural citizenship can be understood as a practice, which of playing an active role in the cultural construction of the community that means also participating in social construction.

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If you are interested in looking further on this methodology, please, go through the InCommon web page http://www.documenta.es/web/incommon/materials/ or contact the coordinator of the project This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

InCommon. Cultural and Educational Interventions for the Exercise of the Active Citizenship of Migrant Women is a project funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) from the European Commission, DG for Migration and Home Affairs under the grant agreement 776199.

Partners: DOCUMENTA (Spain), EDICT (Cyprus), DIMITRA (Greece), KIST (Austria), EAPN- CANTABRIA (Spain), KATO POLEMIDIA COMMUNITY (Cyprus), MUNICIPALITY OF LARISSA (Greece) y GS GAIN&SUSTAIN OG (Austria).

The content of this publication represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European commission does not accept any responsibility for the use that may be made of the information it contains.