Normative Participation

WP2 aims to establish whether the acts of citizenship include ethical behaviour that informs the social exchange processes of social cohesion. The WP will do this through an analysis of the normative participation of national minorities. For instance, national minorities are increasingly becoming participants in the quest to protect the Earth. To the Zapatistas in Mexico, the destruction of the jungle for oil extraction and large-scale logging were some of the core issues that motivated their freedom movement. Native Americans in other parts of the Western hemisphere are known for a moral concern for the Earth that provides for more natural management of the environment than any environmental agency could muster. German minority farmers in Denmark have taken the lead in bringing Danish agriculture into the organic realm as well as in creating bio-energy. In Germany, an environmental wing of the Danish minority has created a grass-root organization following the “think globally, act locally” mantra of the new environmental movements. Indeed, in Northern Italy, a member of the Green party has proposed an entirely different type of minority, not defined by ethnicity or allegiance to a nation but by the biosphere that it inhabits, the Alps, while the German speaking minority has taken large steps to make the skiing slopes environmentally viable. In other words, in action and in identity, minorities are being redefined along the lines of Green ideas and ecological characteristics.

Minority volunteering is another normative area of citizenship acts. Volunteering is considered an act of citizenship that is perhaps more moral than other acts of citizenship, except for military service and jury duty. Given the lack of funding that most minorities experience of institutions that fulfil the duty of ensuring certain minority rights, such as the right to education minorities have to fill the unfunded functions of such institutions with their own unpaid labour. Arguably, this type of volunteering carries a function which should have been sustained by the greater society. But in addition to serving their own communities on behalf of the authorities of the majority, minorities are also known to carry certain functions that society decide are optional, such as banking and charity, sports clubs, youth clubs, and other cultural clubs as well as certain care facilities for instance for the elderly. In addition to being an act of citizenship one could also argue that some of these functions may help contribute to off-setting societal risks and shocks caused by global crises.

ECMI founders:

The German Federal GovernmentThe German
Federal Government
The Danish GovernmentThe Danish
The Federal State Schleswig-HolsteinThe Federal State