Identity and participation: on the participation logic of public cultural life of urban community residents

YAN Yufan1 YE Nanke2,3

(1.School of Marxism, Hohai University)
(2.School of History, Nanjing University)
(3.Nanjing Academy of Social Sciences)

【Abstract】Motivating residents’ continuous participation is key to the governance of public cultural service. Through describing the identity process of the residents’ participation action, this paper explains three kinds of logic for continuous participation based on the following identity: social identity generated by collective memory, role identity achieved in the acquisition of social rewards, and self-identity revived in the reconstruction of self-value. Identity is an important driving force to promote the residents’ continuous participation in the production and reproduction of public cultural life. The mutual construction of identity and participation, driven by the realization of individual’s self-value, is an important feature of the residents’ continuous participation. Therefore, service should aim to build the multi-dimensional identity of the residents, helping them to realize self-value. Continuous participation based on identity plays a role in public cultural life, and can be used in other domains of public life in modern society. Moreover, it helps residents to construct a sense of belonging and pursue self-realization through participation in public activities.

【Keywords】 identity participation logic; collective memory; social rewards; self-value; persistent participation mechanism;


【Funds】 Youth Project of the National Social Science Fund of China (17CSH008)

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    [1]. (1) The judgment that the majority of participants in the public cultural services in urban communities in China are the elderly and the vulnerable groups is the conclusion drawn by the authors based on the field investigation. At the end of 2015, the authors made a systematic questionnaire statistics and theoretical analysis on the intergenerational characteristics of the participating residents (Yan and Ye, 2016). [^Back]

    [2]. (2) The different types of residents mentioned in this article refer to community residents with different age, gender, physical condition, occupation and educational level, not residents of different community types. [^Back]

    [3]. (3) According to the two variables of whether mobilization of others is needed and relationship with the grass-roots government, the authors divide the involved residents into four types, namely, waste heat type, self-entertainment type, attachment type and improvisation type. The continuous participants here refer to the other three types with relatively stable participation time and times except for improvisation type (Yan and Ye, 2017). [^Back]

    [4]. (4) The authors found in the field investigation that many participants did not get any reward for participating in cultural activities. In fact, most square dance teams also collect some symbolic membership fees from participants every month to maintain the team operation, and even many sponsors subsidize in order to facilitate the smooth development of a certain activity (Yan and Ye, 2017). [^Back]

    [5]. (5) The seriously ill patients concerned in this article refer to the residents who are seriously ill but still have certain action capability and actively participate in public cultural life. They suffer from cancer or other chronic diseases and generally participate in community public cultural life for various reasons when they first learn of the illness. As the illness worsens, their participation time will decrease until they completely lose action capability or their lives end. [^Back]

    [6]. (6) Mead (1987) divided human culture into three types of pre-figurative culture, co-figurative culture and post-figurative culture according to the way of cultural transmission, and tried to explain the differences and conflicts between the younger generation and the older generation in the aspects of lifestyle, behavior and values in various stages of human history. [^Back]


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This Article


CN: 11-1100/C

Vol 34, No. 02, Pages 147-170+245

March 2019


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Literature review and data sources
  • 3 Identity-based participation logic of residents
  • 4 Continuous generation mechanism of identity participation
  • 5 The universal meaning of persistence participation logic based on identity
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