|Author(s)||Pedro D. Ferreira, Luísa Mota Ribeiro & Isabel Menezes|
|Editor||Europe of Many Cultures, Alastair Ross Ed.|
In recent decades citizenship has become a 'myth that appeals to our political imagination' (Ignatieff, 1995, p. 53), generating the magical feeling that a mere allusion to it could serve as an antidote to exclusion, anomy and lack of participation (van Steenbergen, 1994). However, citizenship is anything but a concept with a clear and fixed meaning (Carter & Stokes, 1998; Ferreira & Menezes, 2002a; Gentilli, 2000; Torres, 2001): the least one can say is that several interpretations of this 'myth' are possible. To begin with, citizenship is conceived and balanced very differently depending on the political tradition (Eisenstadt, 2000; Janoski, 1998; Kymlicka & Norman, 1995). For instance, 'active citizenship' can be conceived as 'mostly a passive role' (Walzer, 1995, p. 165), particularly under constitutional views of democracy, or under communitarian perspectives, as an essential right that involves a diversity of contexts and whose exercise is vital for the quality of democratic life (Santos, 1998).