Introduction to Political Theory

(Marvins-Underground-K-12) #1
It is important that we evaluate all differences positively (see Chapter 21 on
Difference). Although it is likely that the struggle for an inclusive citizenship will
be pursued by those who are the victims rather than the beneficiaries of the market
and state, people with education and status have a vital part to play in the struggle
for emancipation. They may be less subject to prejudice based upon ignorance. In
the same way ‘outsiders’ are more likely to see the need to integrate with the host
community in a way that enables people to contribute to (rather than passively
accept) dominant norms. The need for self-government affects everyone, for even
the well-to-do are vulnerable to problems in the social and natural environment.


Ancient Greek notions of citizenship are linked to notions of slavery and imperialism,
and liberalism historically has regarded citizenship in an exclusive way. The liberal
view of citizenship suffers from being abstract, which means that while in theory
it offers freedom and equality to all, beneath the abstractions is to be found
Marshall argues that citizens require social rights as well as political and legal
ones, since the latter are seriously weakened if access to material resources is denied.
The New Right in Britain and the USA rejected as ‘socialistic’ the argument for
social rights, preferring to define citizenship in market rather than in welfare terms.
Women are subject to informal pressures in liberal democracies that prevent them
from exercising an effective citizenship. It could be argued that individuals would
become more independent and involved as citizens if they were in receipt of what
has justifiably been called a ‘citizens’ income’.
Cosmopolitans take the view that it would be wrong to juxtapose involvement
at local, regional and national levels with a concern with the world. The European
Union has pioneered a concept of citizenship that, although undeveloped, offers a
tantalising glimpse of what is possible in future.
Despite the tendency to define citizenship as membership of the state, it could
be argued that the state is actually a barrier to citizenship. As an institution claiming
a monopoly of legitimate force, its interventions undermine rather than enhance
citizenship. Like the state, the existence of class divisions restricts meaningful
citizenship. This point can be underlined when we develop the idea of citizenship
as a relational and momentum concept.


  1. Is the notion of global citizenship simply a dream?

  2. Is the use of force a barrier to citizenship?

  3. Should we extend citizenship to children and animals?

  4. Is the liberal view of citizenship satisfactory?

  5. Is the view of Marshall as a pioneer of the modern concept of citizenship justified?

138 Part 1 Classical ideas

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