Citizenship Essay

5963 words - 24 pages

Sample Research Paper on Citizenship
Citizenship is being defined as the relationship between the state and individuals. Historically citizenship is being inevitably linked with the state formation. Originally citizenship was denoting residence of people within protected walls of a city. Thus, whoever belonged to a community residing inside the boundaries was considered a citizen. Later this term has acquired a different meaning and the standards and definitions of citizenship have changed. There were many reasons that have caused such changes: history proceeded with its migrations, wars and annexation and along on its way brought new meanings to citizenship. Such change in ...view middle of the document...

Today citizenship is more than just a detector of national identity; it also involves an increasing range of obligations and rights. Social citizenship and the welfare state are not concerned with borders or accounting rules, instead they define the standard of citizenship. In fact, the importance of belonging to community has been intensified by the welfare state. Meanwhile, social citizenship has emphasized the relationships between citizens and the state and increased the level of obligation owned by the state towards its citizens. This was accomplished through the governments’ commitment to develop and maintain a minimum standard of living socially accepted for all members within community. (Kolberg, 1992, p. 23) According to Marshall’s definition: “Citizenship requires a bond of a different kind, a direct sense of community membership based upon loyalty to a civilization which is common possession; it is the loyalty of free men endowed with rights and protected by a common law”(Marshall, 1950, p. 22).
Citizenship is about legitimate membership of all individual with the state, provided that each of them accepts the duties to the state and in return expects protection of his/her rights by the state. With the help of legal framework citizenship allows also the development of associations created within a civil society. Thus, citizenship doesn’t only grant a legal status, but also implies economic consequences.
There are different views and perspectives on citizenship. The communitarian view, for example, distinguishes the “loyalty” and “sense of community” as words associated with obligations and rights in the democratic state. (Galston, 1993, p. 43) From this perspective, community acquires the meaning of not only solidarity, belonging, and rights, but also of loyalty and reciprocity.
The purpose of this paper is to review and describe the contemporary theories of citizenship and to analyze their advantages and disadvantages in the light of the emerging global changes in society.
Liberal Theory of Citizenship
Marshall T. H. is generally considered an author of social citizenship concept. The concept originates from an essay that was given as a speech back in 1949 in honor of Alfred Marshall. The civil element in Marshal’s theory answered for “the rights necessary for individual freedom – liberty of the person, freedom of speech, thought and faith, the right to own property and to conclude valid contract, and the right to justice” (Marshall, 1950, p. 19) and generally reflected the concepts of passive citizenship.
As a “political element” in his theory Marshall has also included “the right to participate in the exercise of political power, as a member of a body invested with political authority or as an elector of the members of such a “body” and a “social element”: rights which range from economic welfare to “the right to share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life of a civilized being according to the standards...

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