What is citizenship people have been discussing the

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What is citizenship?People have been discussing the idea of citizenship for thousands of years and even today thereis no absolute agreement on exactly what it means. The concept oflegalcitizenship appears to berelatively simple: this is normally linked to a nation state and is defined in terms of the laws of thatnation. This is perhaps why, for many people, the idea of citizenship has an immediate connectionwith the idea of patriotism: a “good citizen” is often thought to be a “good patriot”.However, the concept of citizenship has far more layers of meaning than mere patriotism, aswe can see from the historical origins of the idea, set out in the next section. A helpful distinctionto bear in mind is that between a citizen, on the one hand, and a subject, on the other.Related activitiesA tale of two cities, page 71.Act it out, page 86.Beware, we are watching,page 95.“Draw the word” game,page 120.Education for all, page 122.Electioneering, page 127.Fighters for rights, page 130.Garden in a night, page 139.Heroines and heroes,page 142.Let every voice be heard,page 153.Making links, page 173.Power station, page 198.To vote or not to vote?,page 238.Trade union meeting,page 244.Where do you stand?,page 254.Who are I?, page 257.?Should citizens always obey the law?
323Manual on Human Rights Education with Young People – Council of EuropeHistorical conceptions of citizenshipIt is useful to look at some of the more important developments in the idea of citizenship, sincethis helps to bring out the various strands of meaning that are discussed today.The origin of citizenship can be traced back to Ancient Greece, when “citizens”were those who had a legal right to participate in the affairs of the state. But by nomeans everyone was a citizen: slaves and women, in particular, were mere subjects.For those who did have the privileged status of being citizens, the idea of “civicvirtue” or being a “good” citizen was an important part of the concept. This traditionled to an emphasis on thedutiesthat citizens were supposed to perform.The association of citizenship with national identity arose naturally from the factthat the legal status of a “citizen” was always tied to a nation state, hence the linkbetween citizenship and patriotism.The liberal view of citizenship, which was developed in the nineteenth century,emphasised the importance ofrightsfor all citizens. As the franchise began to begradually extended, so justice and political rights became a reality for an increasingproportion of the population.In the twentieth century, the supporters of “social citizenship” went further, inrecognising that civil and political rights are only part of what citizens ought to beable to expect from the state. The rise of the welfare state in the last century oweda great deal to thinkers who argued that rights of citizens ought to cover their ownliving and working conditions, rather than just their participation in “high” politics.The concept of “multiple citizenship” has been in existence for a while and allows

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