Urban Life and Citizenship: the Future of Freedom

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Juan Antonio Guerrero, SJ

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What does it mean to be a citizen in today’s Western societies? There is often talk of a certain discomfort with the responsibilities that come with citizenship. Why?[1] We will look here at three areas where we spend our daily lives as citizens. They shape and establish in us some “habits of the heart,” to use the well-known expression of Alexis de Tocqueville, who referred to customs, to what the ancients called mores.[2] The study of these habits “enlightens us on the state of society, on its continuity and on its long-term vitality.”[3] The three areas that seem to us to be of particular importance for the problem that we intend to address are the public space, work and the family.

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