Free University Amsterdam
The above question will be divided into two parts. First, what is citizenship; and second, what makes citizenship democratic? And since democratic citizenship also contains the equality between the citizens, I will examine what dilemma’s are there which undermine this equality. In other words, to answer the question; what is democratic citizenship, I will try to answer what processes or dilemmas undermine democratic citizenship. But first a brief explanation of citizenship itself.
What is citizenship?
Civil citizenship is basically the liberal principals and basics of the individual freedom, which exist of the “rights necessary for individual freedom-liberty of person, freedom of speech, thought and faith, and the right to justice”(Marshall, 1950: 8). The last element of the above mentioned rights is not directly involved in the individual degree of freedom, but it surely grantees the protection of the individuals in relation to each other in terms of social equality.
The second element; political citizenship, allows or enables citizen to participate in the processes of agenda-setting and decision-making, which are equal to the “right to participate in the exercise of political power, as a member of a body invested with political authority or as an elector of the members of such a body”( Marshall, 1950: 8).
Third element; social citizenship, refers to a “whole range from the right to a modicum of economic welfare and security to the right to share at the full in the social heritage and to live the life of a civilized being according to the standards prevailing in the society”( Marshall, 1950: 8). Which means, all rights from the limited access to the educational system, social facilities and services to the full access to the social system.
Altogether, considering the above described elements, citizenship is the involvement of citizens in the social, economical and political scope in a given society and the rights that give them access to those scopes. In other words one can only speak of citizenship in terms of citizen rights, regulations and law which protect and compel citizens to act accordingly and appropriate to the law. This protection is embodied in the institutions like, “court of justice, parliament and council of local government”(Marshall, 1095: 8 – 12). Now with an overview of what citizenship is, the move towards an explanation of what makes this citizenship democratic can be made.
What makes citizenship
The quest for cultural recognition which has its roots in the “material inequality, in income and property ownership”(Fraser, 1995: 68), is one of the dilemmas that threaten democratic citizenship. A second threat to the democratic citizenship will be the socioeconomic redistribution. But before answering the question as to why the dilemmas of recognition and socioeconomic redistributions form threats to the democratic citizenship, an explanation of both notions is needed.
In the second part of the paper, we endeavored to find out which social and political dilemmas there are. One can of course question the relevance of these dilemmas to the democratic citizenship. What do recognition and re-distributive dilemmas have to do with the democratic degree of citizenship?
As mentioned earlier the recognition dilemmas are rooted in the social patterns of a given society. The reason why this dilemmas can constrain and/or undermine democratic citizenship is because “non-recognition or misrecognition (…) can be a form of oppression, imprisoning an individual or a group of individuals in a false, distorted, reduced mode of being. Beyond simple lack of respect, it can inflict a grievous wound, saddling people with crippling self-hatred. Due recognition is not just a courtesy but a vital human need” (Tyler in, Fraser, 1995: 71). And since the civil element of citizenship is based on the “freedom-liberty of person, freedom of speech, thought and faith, and the right to justice”(Marshall, 1950: 8), recognition dilemmas form a great threat for the democratic degree of citizenship.
A second threat to the democratic citizenship is socioeconomic injustice. “Culture norms that are unfairly biased against some are institutionalized in the state and the economy; meanwhile, economic disadvantages impede participation in the making of culture, in public spheres and in everyday life”( Fraser, 1995: 73). This element of socioeconomic injustice is contradictory to the second element of citizenship, which is political. And because political citizenship is based on the participation of citizens in the process of decision-making and agenda setting, redistributive dilemmas come to undermined or at least constrain the democratic degree of citizenship.
However, the recognition and redistributive dilemmas have their impact on the social element of citizenship as well. In other words, “we owe our integrity (...) to the receipt of approval or recognition from other persons. Negative concepts such as ‘insult’ or degradation are related to forms of disrespect, to the denial of recognition. They are used to characterize a form of behavior that does not represent an injustice solely because it constrains the subjects in their freedom for action or does them harm. Rather, such behavior is injurious because it impairs these persons in their positive understanding of self and understanding acquired by intersubjective means”( Fraser, 1995: 72).
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