What is a Citizen?

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A citizen is a person who, whether by birth, the nationality of one or both parents, or naturalization, has full rights and responsibilities as part of a nation or political community. A citizen also has the right to vote in elections and to participate in public life. Citizenship is a privilege that requires the willingness to work for the good of your country. To be a good citizen, you should help people who cannot help themselves and always respect others’ property. It is important to take part in civic activities and make sure you vote in every election. You should also get to know your local government and pay attention to what they are doing in your neighborhood.

In recent times, there have been many debates over the nature of citizenship and its place in a democratic society. These debates are typically framed in terms of the relationship between the state, citizenship and rights. The first debate concerns the question of whether citizenship can be conceived as a status entitling its holders to an identical set of civil, political and social rights. This is known as the universalist model of citizenship, and it became dominant in post-World War II liberal democracies.

An alternative to the universalist model is the idea that citizenship may be defined by a particular social class, religion, culture or other characteristic. This is often called the pluralist model of citizenship and, in contrast to the universalist model, it recognises that citizens of different social groups are entitled to equal recognition (Kymlicka, 1992).

Another point of debate is the extent to which the private/private sphere and the public/political sphere should be considered separate or interconnected. This issue is crucial to the debate over citizenship because it has shaped conceptions of citizenship since Aristotle, and it continues to shape the theory of democracy in general and political philosophy in particular.

A third debate centres on the role of globalisation in citizenship theory. The premise of much scholarship is that citizenship’s necessary context is the sovereign, territorial state. This is contested, however, by those who argue that citizenship can be exercised in a range of’sites’ below and above the nation-state, such as the family, the workplace or the church.

When asked to identify traits of a good citizen, most Americans agreed that voting in elections is very important, and most agreed that paying taxes and obeying the law are very important. But there were sizable partisan differences on several other items, including knowing the Pledge of Allegiance, volunteering to help others and showing the flag. These data suggest that mainstream definitions of citizenship do not resonate with many young adults. They are more likely to talk about a justice-oriented vision of citizenship that emphasizes participation in civic activity that promotes a just and fair society. They also focus on personal empowerment and civic opportunities. This is a new form of citizenship that is not yet fully established in the United States, but it is a promising way forward.