PROFACITY - Profane Citizenship in Europe: Testing Democratic Ownership in Hybrid Situations

European Commission - FP7




Main researchers
Anne-Marie Helle (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) (France)
Orquídea Coelho (PT)


Research team (PT)
Ana João Castro
Bruno Mendes
Cândida Amorim
Cláudia Rubim
Henrique Vaz
Isabel Amaral
Joaquim Torres
Maria do Céu Gomes
Raquel Felizes
Sara Silva
Sara Sousa


01.11.2008 - 01.11.2011


Partner institutions
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France)
Ghent University (Belgium)
Ljubljana University (Slovenia)
Utrecht University (The Netherlands)
Porto University/FPCEUP-CIIE (Portugal=


PROFACITY - European Commission


Resources and materials


By concentrating on hybrid, not strictly normative social situations, we consider how people experiment with novel forms of citizenship that modify the outlines of formal citizenship. Such forms of citizenship imply practical activities connected to existing set-ups or milieus, and what is at stake is the continuous invention of the democratic principle itself, i.e. the «right to rights». The task at hand is to affirm and implement the «right to the city», not immediately conceded, that we call profane citizenship, and that we intend to use as a means of analyzing democratic ownership. Our research program aims to examine in what ways the practices of actors who find themselves in situations where they have to make do with their faults, handicaps, lack of resources, are taken (or not) into account as alternatives to juridical citizenship.
We will focus on milieus of translation gathering the have-some people acting in solidarity networks. Three interconnected fields are concerned (languages and codes, proofs of identity, tests of urbanity), leading to qualitative surveys whose materials and first results will be submitted with sensing methodology to professional and institutional representatives. This in turn will lead us to reconsider the notion of profane citizenship with an eye to the recent transformations of democracy in various national frameworks, by concentrating not only on the juridical concepts of citizenship, but also on its sociological configurations. The theoretical and experimental contribution expected from this research project aims to develop the notion of profane citizenship, showing how it allows, in situations of delicate or relative balance, to take into account, according to the different national and democratic political cultures, both the uniqueness of the personal actions they imply and the political ontology involved thereby.