Democratic Citizenship

Rick Valelly

in Political Science

ISBN: 9780199756223
Published online November 2011 | | DOI:
Democratic Citizenship

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Democratic citizenship is membership in a political democracy. The unit for democratic membership does not have to be a nation-state: it can also be a city or some other subnational jurisdiction (a canton, province, or state) or a supranational order (as in the case of a regional compact, such as the European Union). There can be dual citizenship, increasingly common in a globalized world. Wherever it occurs, democratic citizenship features a bundle of enforceable rights and liberties, policy benefits, enforceable obligations to the jurisdiction (such as being law-abiding), affective attachment to some degree to the democracy, weaker or stronger capacities of citizens for active membership (such as cognitive evaluation of public debate and policy choices and participation), better or worse appreciation by the citizen of widely discussed relevant norms (such as toleration), and stronger or weaker awareness of collective memories that partly define the meaning and history of membership in the political unit. Because people live their lives in a democratic jurisdiction, citizenship is a life course experience over time. But democracies do coexist with free markets and societies, so the activity of involvement in democratic citizenship is hardly full-time. Instead, it is—perhaps desirably—undertaken only episodically, typically before, during, and after a range of civic acts, such as paying attention to public events, paying taxes, collecting policy benefits, voting, or flag commemoration. Democratic citizenship is not a constant or burdensome activity or experience, not least because democratic government is periodically accountable representative government performed by elected and appointed officials as opposed to continuous popular control and management of government. The works included here are drawn principally from Anglo-American and western European cases, but this is done without any implication at all that these cases exhaust the topic.

Article.  13023 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions ; Political Methodology ; Political Theory

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