Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Concept of Citizenship in Education for Democracy

The Concept of Citizenship in Education for Democracy. This is an interesting ERIC Digest from 2000 by John J. Patrick. I think it would be of interest to history and social studies teachers. It has some good ideas for teaching the concept of citizenship and applying it to education on democracy.

The abstract notes, "The concept of citizenship is at the core of education for democracy. This Digest discusses (1) what citizenship is; (2) why citizenship is an essential element of democracy; and (3) how to teach about citizenship in a democracy."

From the site:

In a democracy, the source of all authority -- the legitimate basis of all power -- is the collective body of the people, the citizens of the polity. There is popular sovereignty of the citizens and thereby government by consent of the governed. A citizen is a full and equal member of a polity, such as a democratic nation-state (Mouffe 1995, 217).

In some states or countries, citizenship, the condition of being a citizen, is based on the place of a person's birth, which is known as "jus soli" citizenship. In other places, the status of citizen is based on the citizenship of one's parents, which is known as "jus sanguinis" citizenship. Some countries use both bases for ascribing citizenship. Further, most democratic states have established legal procedures by which people without a birthright to citizenship can become naturalized citizens.

Equality before the law is one fundamental right of the citizen; other examples are such political rights as voting and participating in public interest groups. Constitutions may make a distinction between the rights of citizens and of inhabitants of the political community who are not citizens. For example, in the United States of America, only citizens have the right to vote, serve on juries, and be elected to certain offices of the government, such as Congress. All other rights in the United States Constitution are guaranteed to everyone residing in the country, citizens and noncitizens alike.

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