This article argues that studies and promotion of citizenship falls short if they forget that perceptions and practices are also informed by culture. Concretely, referring mainly to Chile, Ecuador, and Bolivia, it states that (mainly poor) people on one hand "subvert" the official canon with regard to citizenship by practicing it particularisticly and looking for favors rather than "rights," whereas on the other hand, awareness with regard to rights exists. People's experiences, however, have taught them, in concrete encounters with state representatives, not to insist on their rights but instead to try for the "favor." Nevertheless, in evaluating such encounters with the state, people show that they understand the clue of "universal rules" and the "rule of law" very well. © 2004 Sage Publications.