Capacity and Expression: The Tactical Repertoire of Citizenship

in Citizen Speak

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780226660790
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226660783 | DOI:
Capacity and Expression: The Tactical Repertoire of Citizenship

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Spurred into action by concern with an issue, groups need to decide what to do about it. This chapter examines how they make that decision. What kinds of citizenship actions can citizens imagine? What are citizens looking for when they think about how to get involved? What makes one kind of citizenship more attractive than another? It shows that citizens are concerned both with effective action (capacity) and with the opportunity to make their voices heard (expression). They balance these two concerns in much the same way classical sociologists suggested they would: by understanding some actions as instrumental and others as expressive. Citizens also use creativity, imagination, and narratives about past political activity to construct ideas about what they can do and how different actions might affect the balance between instrumental and expressive actions.

Keywords: political participation; citizenship; effective action; citizens; capacity; expression; creativity; imagination; narratives

Chapter.  7483 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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