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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1678-4464Print version ISSN 0102-311X


GOULART, Flavio A. A.. Social representations, political action and citizenship. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 1993, vol.9, n.4, pp.477-486. ISSN 1678-4464.

There are many forms of political and cultural mediation between social representations and social demands, on the one hand, and public policy-making on the other. It is important to be familiar with political projects and counter-projects formulated by social movements, particularly concerning their notion of citizenship and the changes caused on their demands by the enhancing or inhibiting action of the state. It is essential to grasp the various dimensions of social movements, namely their cultural identity and pattern of interaction with the state. It is thus possible to clarify social actors' perceptions of "needs" and their notions of "citizenship", as well as their respective projects for political action. The concept and practice of "regulated" citizenship may be incorporated both by the state and social movements. The achievement of "full" citizenship is a historical process of social conquest, with particular significance in the way society organizes and represents its perceptions and notions about the issue. A deeper understanding of contradictions between social demands and institutional policy-making can solve the paradox displayed by the polymorphous character of these policies, which both compensate for and reproduce inequalities, in addition to enhancing and controlling political action by society. In conclusion, it is necessary to discover the whole variety and dynamics of social representations of citizenship, as a way to achieve new rights and new areas of political action for the disempowered members of society.

Keywords : Public Policies; Social Representations; Social Demands; Political Action; Citizenship.

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