Chapter

Essence of Citizenship

Mark Robert Rank

in One Nation, Underprivileged

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195101683
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199894048 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195101683.003.0006
Essence of Citizenship

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This chapter develops a third argument for why Americans should care about poverty: active involvement and concern for those experiencing misfortune is an important (but often neglected) aspect of citizenship. As members of communities larger than simply themselves as individuals, Americans share an obligation and responsibility to alleviate grievous ills, such as poverty, that befall other members of their community. This position is based on the assertion that the concept of citizenship necessitates a sense of shared responsibility and stewardship. Such obligations become particularly binding when it can be demonstrated that a specific problem is largely the product of structural inequities. Part of Americans' civic responsibility lies in addressing such inequities. In addition, by alleviating the blight of poverty, Americans are exerting wise stewardship over their communities. Such stewardship is also an essential component of the concept of citizenship.

Keywords: United States; American poverty; citizenship; civic duty; stewardship

Chapter.  8801 words. 

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