This book questions the political logic of foregrounding cultural collectives in a world shaped by globalization and neoliberalization. Throughout the world, it is no longer only individuals, but increasingly collective "cultures" who are made responsible for their own regulation, welfare and enterprise. This appears as a surprising shift from the tenets of classical liberalism which defined the ideal subject of politics as the "unencumbered self"- the free, equal and self-governing individual.
The increasing promotion and recognition of cultural rights in international legislation, multiculturalism, and public debates on "culture" as a political problem more generally indicate that culture has become a more central terrain for governance and struggles around rights and citizenship. On the basis of case studies from China, Latin America, and North America, the contributors of this book explore the links between culture, civility, and the politics of citizenship. They argue that official reifications of "culture" in relation to citizenship, and even the recognition of cultural rights, may obey strategies of governance and control, but that citizens may still use new cultural rights and networks, and the legal mechanisms that have been created to protect them, in order to pursue their own agendas of empowerment.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Economy and Society.
1. Introduction: Rights, Cultures, Subjects and Citizens 2. Resistencia para que? Territory, Autonomy and Neoliberal Entanglements in the ‘Empty Spaces` of Central America 3. Localized Neoliberalism, Multiculturalism and Global Religion: Exploring the Agency of Migrants and City Boosters 4. ‘Emancipation or Regulation’? Law, Globalization and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Post-War Guatemala 5. The Law Cuts Both Ways: Rural Legal Activism and Citizenship Struggles in Neosocialist China 6. Subjectification and Education for Quality in China