The Concept of Citizenship

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Citizenship is a broad concept that encompasses all of the rights and responsibilities that are associated with membership in a specific political community. It is therefore a fundamental aspect of human existence and an important topic for study.

The concept of good citizenship has become a focus for research in the social sciences. While a definition of good citizenship is not widely accepted, there are some key elements that can be identified. These include obedience to the law, love for one’s country and patriotism, a commitment to service and giving back to the community, and tolerance.

Many of these characteristics can be taught to children in school and at home. Children can learn from the actions and words of famous Americans such as Benjamin Franklin, who worked all his life for the benefit of other people, even when he was not receiving any remuneration. Students can also learn from the actions of local and national heroes, such as firefighters and police officers. In addition, schools can teach children to respect and protect the environment and their own bodies.

In contemporary democratic and republican theory, there is a strong emphasis on active citizenship. This includes participation in the political process, such as voting in elections, canvassing for political parties, participating in public deliberation, or demonstrating against government decisions or policies. This notion of citizenship assumes the capacity for rational agency, and it is based on an ideal of the citizen as a free person capable of exercising informed judgment.

While this vision of the citizen is widely accepted, it is not without its limitations. Many individuals cannot participate in these activities due to a physical or cognitive disability, and they are thus not fully functioning citizens. This gap in the understanding of the concept of citizenship has fueled a debate over whether these people can be considered members of the citizenry.

A further limitation in this approach is the tendency to view good citizenship as a set of values that can be imposed from above. This is reflected in the idea that “political culture” can determine what kind of citizenry a society has. This view is in contrast to the idea that good citizenship is formed through the process of individual civic education and experience, a concept that has been the subject of much recent research (see Ichilov et al., 2007).

The academic discussion on the concept of good citizenship is ongoing. The present systematic review has mapped the academic discussion to date. It has a number of limitations, including its reliance on English-language literature and the fact that it excludes studies of broader social or political issues. However, it has made a valuable contribution to the mapping of the academic discussion of this concept. The future of good citizenship will depend on how this debate unfolds.