Discussion of political and legal citizenship requires attention to social solidarity. Current approaches to citizenship, however, tend to proceed on abstract bases, neglecting this sociological dimension. This is partly because a tacit understanding of what constitutes a 'society' has been developed through implicit reliance on the idea of 'nation'. Issues of social belonging are addressed more directly in communitarian and multiculturalist discourses. Too often, however, different modes of solidarity and participation are confused. Scale is often neglected. The model of 'nation' again prefigures the ways in which membership and difference are constructed. The present paper suggests the value of maintaining a distinction among relational networks, cultural or legal categories, and discursive publics. The first constitute community in a sense quite different from either of the second and third. Categories, however, are increasingly prominent in largescale social life. But the idea of the public is crucial to conceptualizing democratic participation.
- public space
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science