- LAST REVIEWED: 04 May 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0013
- LAST REVIEWED: 04 May 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0013
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.
Three forms of intellectual and academic inquiry that focus on democratic citizenship and that are represented here are political philosophy, which treats what democratic citizenship can and ought to be like; political science, which treats what democratic citizenship is and has actually been like in and across political jurisdictions; and sociology, which treats how, why, and when democratic citizenship becomes the terrain for group conflict or cooperation. But there is no single work or school that integrates these diverse disciplinary approaches to the topic. Bellamy 2008 and Magnette 2005 provide short surveys of the idea of citizenship. In contrast, Christiano 2008 allows for exploration among related topics. Kymlicka and Norman 1994, Walzer 1989, and Zvesper 2007 succinctly present dualisms and contrasts that go with the topic of democratic citizenship.
Bellamy, Richard. Citizenship: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Treats the elements of democratic citizenship, the evolution of democratic citizenship, and the range of political philosophical debates concerning contemporary democratic citizenship.
Christiano, Tom. “Democracy.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2008.
An overview of democratic citizenship coupled to a bibliography and links to related entries and topics, such as “Liberalism,” “Civil Rights,” “Political Representation,” “Rights,” and “Constitutionalism.”
Kymlicka, Will, and Wayne Norman. “Return of the Citizen: A Survey of Recent Work on Citizenship Theory.” Ethics 104.2 (1994): 352–381.
A preliminary conceptual guide to thinking about democratic citizenship. Distinguishes between, in the authors’ words, “citizenship-as-legal-status” and “citizenship-as-desirable-activity.”
Magnette, Paul. Citizenship: The History of an Idea. Brussels: European Consortium for Political Research, 2005.
Written by a Belgian politician and political scientist, this traces the main intellectual contours of citizenship theory since World War II.
Walzer, Michael. “Citizenship.” In Political Innovation and Conceptual Change. Edited by Terence Ball, James Farr, and Russell L. Hanson, 211–219. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
Distinguishes between citizenship generally and democratic citizenship in particular.
Zvesper, John. “Liberal Democratic Citizenship.” Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. 6 September 2007.
Written from a neoconservative perspective in that it attacks multicultural views of democratic citizenship. Summarizes the multicultural approach, surveys a range of ancient and modern political philosophers, shows that discussions by Plato and Aristotle are useful to modern debate about democratic citizenship, and connects liberal democratic citizenship to military service and patriotism.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email email@example.com to express your interest.
- Advanced Democracies, Electoral System Reform in
- Advanced Democracies, Public Opinion and Public Policy in
- Advertising and Election Campaigns in the United States
- Africa, Comparative Politics of
- American Indian Politics
- Arab-Israel Conflict, The
- Arendt, Hannah
- Aristotle's Political Thought
- Australia and New Zealand, Comparative Politics of
- Authoritarianism in Russia
- Bicameralism in Stable Democracies
- Biopolitics and State Regulation of Human Life
- Brazilian Political Development
- Business-State Relations in Europe
- Canadian Foreign Policy
- Candidate Emergence and Recruitment
- Channels of Electoral Representation in Advanced Industria...
- China's One-Child Policy
- China-Taiwan Relations
- Chinese Nationalism
- Civil Society in South Asia
- Civil War in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Civil-Military Relations in Asia
- Civil-Military Relations in Latin America
- Class in American Politics
- Comparative Capitalism Theory
- Comparative Politics of Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bis...
- Comparative Politics of Chile and Uruguay
- Comparative Politics of Federalism
- Comparative Politics of the Middle East and North Africa
- Congress, Defense, and Foreign Policy
- Congressional Reassertion of Authority
- Conservative Litigation Strategies and Groups in US Judici...
- Corruption in China
- Cosmopolitan Political Thought
- Crisis of European Integration in Historical Perspective, ...
- Critical Theory and the Frankfurt School
- Cuban Political Development
- Cycles of Protest
- Democracy and Authoritarianism in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Democracy and Dictatorship in Central Asia
- Democracy in Latin America
- Democratic Citizenship
- Democratic Peace Theory
- Democratic Theory
- Democratization in Africa
- Democratization in Central America
- Democratization in Mexico
- Development of Survey Research
- Direct Democracy in the United States
- East Africa, Politics of
- Economic Voting
- Election Forecasting
- Election Laws in Democracies
- Electoral and Party System Development in Sub-Saharan Afri...
- Electoral Change in Latin America
- Emotion and Racial Attitudes in Contemporary American Poli...
- Environmental Governance
- Environmental Politics among Advanced Industrial Democraci...
- Ethnic Diasporas and US Foreign Policy
- Ethnic Politics
- Eurasia, Comparative Politics of
- European Social Democracy
- European Union, Politics of the
- Failed and Weak States in Theory and Practice
- Far-Right Parties in Europe
- Federalism in the United States
- Field Experiments
- Filibuster, The
- Gender and Electoral Politics in the United States
- Gender and International Relations
- Gender, Behavior, and Representation
- Global Inequality
- Globalization and the Welfare State
- Globalization, Health Crises, and Health Care
- Governance in Africa
- Governmental Responses to Political Corruption
- Gridlock and Divided Government in the U.S.
- Historiography of Twentieth-Century American Conservatism,...
- Hobbes’s Political Thought
- Hume’s Political Thought
- Hybrid Regimes
- Identity and Political Behavior
- Immigrant Incorporation in Canada
- Immigrant Incorporation in Western Europe
- Immigration and International Relations
- Impact of Campaign Contributions on Congressional Behavior...
- Implicit Attitudes in Public Opinion
- Income Dynamics and Politics in North America and Europe
- Income Inequality and Advanced Democracies
- Income Inequality in the United States, The Politics of
- Indian Democracy
- Indigenous Rights and Governance in Canada, Australia, and...
- Informal Practices of Accountability in Urban Africa
- Institutional Change in Advanced Democracies
- Intellectual Property in International Relations
- Interest Groups and Inequality in the United States
- Interest Groups in American Politics
- International Conflict Management
- International Criminal Justice
- International Law
- International NGOs
- International Political Economy of Illegal Drugs
- Internet and Politics, The
- Iran, Political Development of
- Israeli Politics
- Judicial Supremacy and National Judicial Review
- Kant's Political Thought
- Labor Politics in East Asia
- Land Reform in Latin America
- Latin America, Democratic Transitions in
- Latin America, Environmental Policy and Politics in
- Latin America, Guerrilla Insurgencies in
- Latin America, Social Movements in
- Legal Mobilization
- LGBT Politics in the United States
- Liberal Pluralism
- Local Governments in the United States
- Machiavelli’s Political Thought
- Marx's Political Thought
- Mechanisms of Representation
- Media Effects in Politics
- Media Politics in South Asia
- Minority Political Engagement and Representation in the Un...
- Modern Dynastic Rule
- Modern Elections and Voting Behavior in Europe
- National Interbranch Politics in the United States
- NATO, Politics of
- Neoclassical Realism
- New Institutionalism Revisited, The
- North America, Comparative Politics of
- Oil, Politics of
- Origins and Impact of Proportional Representation, The
- Outcomes of Social Movements and Protest Activities
- Partisan and Nonpartisan Theories of Organization in the U...
- Partisan Polarization in the US Congress
- Partisan Polarization in the US Electorate
- Party Networks
- Peace Operations
- Personality and Politics
- Plato's Political Thought
- Policy Responsiveness to Public Opinion
- Political Economy of Financial Regulation in Advanced Ind...
- Political Economy of Taxation, The
- Political Geography in American Politics
- Political Obligation
- Political Parties and Electoral Politics of Japan
- Political Thought, Hegel's
- Political Thought of the American Founders, The
- Politics and Policy in Contemporary Argentina
- Politics of Anti-Americanism
- Politics of Disaster Prevention and Management
- Politics of Financial Crises
- Politics of Foreign Direct Investment in South Asia
- Politics of Higher Education in the U.S.
- Politics of Internal Conquest in the United States and Can...
- Politics of Japan
- Politics of Natural Disasters, The
- Politics of North Korea
- Politics of Science and Technology
- Politics of South Africa
- Politics of Southern Africa
- Postcolonialism and International Relations
- Post-Communist Democratization
- Preferential Trade Agreements, Politics of
- Presidential Persuasion and Public Opinion
- Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
- Public Opinion in Advanced Industrial Democracies
- Public Opinion in New Democracies and Developing Nations
- Qualitative Methods, The Renewal of
- Race in American Political Thought
- Regime Transitions and Variation in Post-Communist Europe
- Regional Integration in Latin America
- Regional Security
- Regulating Food Production
- Religion in American Political Thought
- Religion in Contemporary Political Thought
- Religion, Politics, and Civic Engagement in the United Sta...
- Rousseau's Political Thought
- Rule of Law
- Russia and the West
- Science and Democracy
- Social Policy and Immigrant Integration
- South Korea, Politics of
- Spectacle, The
- State Building in Sub-Saharan Africa
- State Formation
- State, The Nature of the
- Supreme Court of the United States, The
- Systemic Theories of International Politics
- Taiwan, Politics of
- Tea Party, The
- The New Right in American Political Thought
- Transitional Justice
- Turkey, Political Development of
- US Military Bases Abroad
- US Presidency, The
- Voter Turnout
- Welfare State Development
- Welfare State Development in Latin America
- Welfare State Development in Western Europe
- West Africa, Politics of
- Worker Politics in China
- Youth and Generational Differences in US Politics