Jump to Content Jump to Main Navigation

Related Articles about

Forthcoming Articles

 

Political Science Democratic Citizenship
by
Rick Valelly

Introduction

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.

General Overviews

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.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Treats the elements of democratic citizenship, the evolution of democratic citizenship, and the range of political philosophical debates concerning contemporary democratic citizenship.

    Find this resource:

  • Christiano, Tom. “Democracy.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    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.”

    Find this resource:

  • Kymlicka, Will, and Wayne Norman. “Return of the Citizen: A Survey of Recent Work on Citizenship Theory.” Ethics 104.2 (1994): 352–381.

    DOI: 10.1086/293605Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A preliminary conceptual guide to thinking about democratic citizenship. Distinguishes between, in the authors’ words, “citizenship-as-legal-status” and “citizenship-as-desirable-activity.”

    Find this resource:

  • Magnette, Paul. Citizenship: The History of an Idea. Brussels: European Consortium for Political Research, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Written by a Belgian politician and political scientist, this traces the main intellectual contours of citizenship theory since World War II.

    Find this resource:

  • 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.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Distinguishes between citizenship generally and democratic citizenship in particular.

    Find this resource:

  • Zvesper, John. “Liberal Democratic Citizenship.” Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. 6 September 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    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.

    Find this resource:

Journals and Newsletters

A journal that continually contributes to the study of democratic citizenship is Citizenship Studies. Citizenship is maintained by the Canadian citizenship theorist Will Kymlicka, who also edits a quarterly electronic newsletter on citizenship, Citizenship, Democracy, and Ethnocultural Diversity Newsletter.

Reference Works and Bibliographies

For parsing the concept of democratic citizenship, see Isin and Turner 2002. Shafir 1998 covers similar ground but with more attention to particular national cases and to different critiques of “liberal citizenship.” Rothschild 1999, a bibliography of citizenship, is useful because it assembles citations to little-known short pieces on citizenship by such figures as Raymond Aron and George Armstrong Kelly. Van Loon and Anghelescu 2010 also offers a bibliography on citizenship.

  • Isin, Engin F., and Bryan S. Turner, eds. The Handbook of Citizenship Studies. London: SAGE, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of broad-ranging articles, for example, “Modern Citizenship,” “Liberal Citizenship,” and “Republican Citizenship.”

    Find this resource:

  • Rothschild, Teal. “A Bibliography of Citizenship.” In Extending Citizenship, Reconfiguring States. Edited by Michael Hanagan and Charles Tilly, 261–284. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Teal Rothschild’s bibliography assembles citations to little-known short pieces on citizenship by such figures as Raymond Aron and George Armstrong Kelly (whose career was cut short by early death but whose work was once well known among American political scientists).

    Find this resource:

  • Shafir, Gershon, ed. The Citizenship Debates: A Reader. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Treats national cases, such as the supposed lack of “social citizenship” in the United States or immigration and citizenship in France and Germany. Articles are also arranged by “critiques,” such as the “social democratic critique” or the “nationalist critique” or the “feminist critique” of liberalism.

    Find this resource:

  • van Loon, James E., and Hermina G. B. Anghelescu, eds. Citizenship in the Humanities and Social Sciences: A Selective Bibliography, 2000–2009. Detroit: Center for the Study of Citizenship, Wayne State University, 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Covers citizenship-related articles and book chapters across several disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, with useful depth in non-European and non-US issues and cases.

    Find this resource:

Political Philosophy and Democratic Citizenship

Because political philosophy arises from inquiry into desirable ways to arrange political regimes, there are continuous strands of theorizing, going back two millennia and more, concerning what democracy actually is and if it is worthwhile. The grand tradition considers the abilities of people to be good democratic citizens and what good democratic citizenship entails. Over time, from one period to the next, one sees a persistent tension in the grand tradition between hope for and confidence in democratic citizenship and doubt or unease about its possibility. The references here are illustrative and not exhaustive.

Ancient Political Philosophers

Broadly speaking, the ancient philosophers were, relative to modern and contemporary theorists, ambivalent about the kind of democracy that existed in ancient city-states, notably 5th-century BCE Athens, and about citizenship in such polities. They saw a contradiction in the idea that those who lived virtuously or pursued philosophy, on the one hand, and those whose mental horizons were narrower, on the other, should share political power. The historian Thucydides participated in this distrust of democracy and offered several contrasting accounts of the relationship between good leaders and bad leaders and popular decision making. For more, see Desmond 2006, which treats Thucydides and his attention to the relationship between Athenian war making and imperial control and the popular basis of Athenian politics. The ancients also introduced the distinction between “the good person” and “the good citizen” and the possibility of deep conflict between the two. Both Monoson 2000 and Villa 2001 address the distrust of democratic citizenship in Plato and Socrates, Monoson 2000 by characterizing the practice of Athenian citizenship, thus clearly specifying what Plato critiqued, while Villa 2001 more explicitly connects Socrates to the ethics of contemporary citizenship. Collins 2006 and Yack 1993 might be seen as showing two different sides of Aristotle: the Aristotle who saw politics as educative for individuals and the Aristotle who appreciated conflict, which is a central but tamed feature of democratic politics. For an overview on Aristotle, see Miller 2008. Wood 1988 recaptures an ancient philosopher little appreciated today, Cicero, who focused on leadership and statesmanship in democratic politics, which now seem distant from the part-time character of ordinary democratic citizenship. Neal Wood argues, however, that contemporary democratic citizens who are well informed and follow politics closely can learn much from his rendition of Cicero.

  • Collins, Susan D. Aristotle and the Rediscovery of Citizenship. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511498633Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Considers in detail Aristotle’s treatment of citizenship in the Politics and the Nicomachean Ethics and its implications for modern democratic citizenship, emphasizing that virtue and its origins in political community are central to the contemporary relevance of Aristotle.

    Find this resource:

  • Desmond, William. “Lessons of Fear: A Reading of Thucydides.” Classical Philology 101 (2006): 359–379.

    DOI: 10.1086/519183Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Treats the role of elite and popular fear and fearfulness in the Athenian city-state during the Peloponnesian War of the late 5th century BCE and Thucydides’s depiction of emotions and passions in Athens’s quasi-democratic political life.

    Find this resource:

  • Miller, Fred. “Aristotle’s Political Theory.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A short introduction and extensive bibliography.

    Find this resource:

  • Monoson, S. Sara. Plato’s Democratic Entanglements: Athenian Politics and the Practice of Philosophy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Treats Plato’s distrust of Athenian democracy and democratic citizenship and argues that Plato’s distrust is still instructive.

    Find this resource:

  • Villa, Dana R. Socratic Citizenship. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In contrast to contemporary calls for greater civic engagement, Villa proposes that Socrates’s “detached” and “moderately alienated” but “conscientious” view of democratic citizenship offers a better model for contemporary democratic citizenship.

    Find this resource:

  • Wood, Neal. Cicero’s Social and Political Thought. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wood recovers Cicero’s embrace of liberty, individual excellence, private property, constitutionalism, ethical political action, and other liberal ideas in the Roman republican context and in so doing suggests that Cicero can inform contemporary citizenship theory.

    Find this resource:

  • Yack, Bernard. The Problems of a Political Animal: Community, Conflict, and Justice in Aristotelian Political Thought. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Yack traces the way Aristotle treated political conflict and varieties of politics as well as ideal regimes and community, implying that democratic citizenship requires handling conflict and institutional evolution as well as being or becoming virtuous.

    Find this resource:

Early Modern Philosophers

Early modern philosophers emphasized, in contrast to the ancients, the fundamental equality of citizens. This conceptual shift, rooted in the impact of Judaism and Christianity on political thought, partly resolved the suspicion of the ancients that letting ordinary people govern themselves could be foolish. For Machiavelli, for instance, a democratic citizen could have a capacity for selfless service to the public, such as a willingness to die in defense of the common good. Moulakis 2008 and Lovett 2008 in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy cover Niccolò Machiavelli’s appreciation of ordinary people as having civic virtues. John Milton’s defense of the freedom of thought further introduced the possibility that public life elevated the mental horizons of all citizens. Achinstein 2007–2008 and Liberty Fund 2011 offer overviews on Milton.

Enlightenment Contractarianism

The fictive idea of a “state of nature” that portrays people as naturally equal and naturally capable of mutually developing a political order that serves their joint interests was a compelling political philosophical justification of political democracy and of political revolutions to create democracy, including mild forms of revolution, such as constitutional conventions. The basic conceptual step was due to Thomas Hobbes, but John Locke altered the conclusion of Hobbes’s contractarianism (i.e., the idea that the choice for political order requires absolute monarchy) to imagine limited and accountable government. Pushing the implication of reasonable contractarian choice, Locke went so far as to propose that a right of revolution could be exercised under certain circumstances, suggesting that citizens acting temporarily as political revolutionaries could collectively create a better political order than the one from which they broke—an idea that informed the American Revolution of 1776. Consult Grant 1987 for an overview of Locke’s thought. The possibility of informed revolutionary choice, wedded to a conception of a self-aware majority acting to further its interests, implied as well a revolutionary concentration of central power, and that idea informed the French Revolution of 1791. For more see Brubaker 1989. One sees the impact of this second, post-Hobbes generation in contractarianism in the US Declaration of Independence or in the “Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen,” by the French Revolutionaries. On modern contractarianism, which has policy and political-process implications, see Button 2008, Cudd 2008, and Friend 2004.

The Enlightenment and Popular Reasonableness

The Enlightenment preoccupation with the psychology and politics of reasonableness and toleration—and how and under what social and political circumstances they might generate and perpetuate themselves—implies the participation of ordinary men and women in such a project. Marshall 2006 places John Locke’s famous argument for toleration in its broad intellectual historical context. Also relevant are Benjamin Franklin’s famous maxims, for example, which provided a code of reasonable, self-interested, but enlightened behavior that anyone could adopt—a feature of Franklin’s intellectual history placed in full context in Pangle 2007. But a standing reproach to all such hopefulness was the insight by Jean-Jacques Rousseau that civilization had hopelessly corrupted people, complicating (though not extinguishing) the capacity for reasonableness that attracted his contemporaries, an issue discussed in detail in Shklar 1985.

  • Marshall, John. John Locke, Toleration, and Early Enlightenment Culture. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Broad but detailed historical and intellectual survey of how the arguments for religious toleration of the late 17th century emerged against the backdrop of deep religious intolerance in Europe.

    Find this resource:

  • Pangle, Lorraine Smith. The Political Philosophy of Benjamin Franklin. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Franklin developed a full account of how human nature, reasonable politics, and democratic institutions fit together.

    Find this resource:

  • Shklar, Judith N. Men and Citizens: A Study of Rousseau’s Social Theory. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    First published in 1969. Shklar argues that Rousseau’s variation on social contract theory and his insistence on very particular realizations of popular government were rooted in a deeply pessimistic assessment of people and of the politics they could produce.

    Find this resource:

Institutions and Citizenship in Enlightenment Political Philosophy

A counterpoint to Enlightenment theorizing about the passions and interests of ordinary people was a strongly institutional approach to democratic citizenship both based on a skeptical assessment of ordinary citizens’ capacities to choose reasonably and well and an appreciation that glory-seeking, ambitious, or demagogic actors might seize control of institutions that concentrated power, thereby subverting democratic order and pursuing foolish national projects meant to satisfy the vanity or passions of a faction or individual. This alternative focus on the institutional context of citizenship can be found in The Federalist and Baron de Montesquieu. Cooke 1982 is an excellent edition of The Federalist, and Bok 2008 provides an introduction to Montesquieu’s thought.

  • Bok, Hilary. “Baron de Montesquieu, Charles-Louis de Secondat.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Introduces readers to Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws, which surveyed and assessed the whole range of geographic, psychological, legal, and institutional factors that could produce mild and free government. Also introduces readers to Montesquieu’s lesser-known works.

    Find this resource:

  • Cooke, Jacob E., ed. The Federalist. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1982.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Any complete edition of The Federalist will do, but this one is particularly well done. A collection of essays defending the proposed American Constitution of 1787. James Madison is considered the guiding spirit of the book, but the essays on the presidency and the Supreme Court were Alexander Hamilton’s. Argues that institutions and intricate institutional design will affect political behaviors predictably and thereby support reasonable but popular and accountable government.

    Find this resource:

Postrevolutionary Modern Liberalism

The early modern quest for democratic citizenship in revolutionary France inspired enormous misgivings and soul searching, both because of both revolutionary violence and the conclusion of the Revolution in Napoleon’s dictatorship and military expansionism, which belied the emphasis on mild, rational self-government in much of Enlightenment thought. Political philosophers committed to democratic citizenship sought to explain what had gone wrong and what would protect democratic citizenship and preserve the Enlightenment commitments to reasonableness, freedom, and toleration. Some of the response, particularly that of Alexis de Tocqueville, focused on the apparent success of democracy in the United States and how specific to American social conditions it was. The postrevolutionary response is traced in Manent 1996, which treats, among others, Alexis de Tocqueville and Benjamin Constant. For more on Constant, who was central to French liberalism, see Holmes 1984, which recovers Constant for an American audience. Lukacs 2011 is a useful essay for those interested in learning more about how to assess Tocqueville’s friendly and full critique of American democratic citizenship.

John Stuart Mill and Late Modern Liberalism

Perhaps the most important figure of late modern liberalism was John Stuart Mill, who emphasized that participation, public debate, and competition of ideas were broadly educative and promoted self-development and social and cultural progress. See Liberty Fund 2011 and Brink 2008. Mill’s ideas about debate have implications for understanding election campaigns and whether and how they can be informative, and his ideas about debate as socially valuable have implications for dissenting speech. See Kinder and Herzog 1993 on election campaigns and Sunstein 2003 on dissent.

  • Brink, David. “Mill’s Moral and Political Philosophy.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Connects Mill’s utilitarianism, which evaluates institutions according to how they promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number, to his liberalism, which assesses political institutions according to how they promote personal self-fulfillment and capacities for following and participating in public debate and in political representation of others.

    Find this resource:

  • Kinder, Donald R., and Don Herzog. “Democratic Discussion.” In Reconsidering the Democratic Public. Edited by George E. Marcus and Russell L. Handson, 347–378. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Short, applied discussion of Mill’s relevance to understanding citizenship as voter choice. Under what conditions are citizens able to meet Mill’s seemingly demanding criteria? Is Mill unrealistic? Combines insights from political theory and survey research.

    Find this resource:

  • Liberty Fund. “Mill on Liberty.” The Forum at the Online Library of Liberty. 2011.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A website that introduces Mill’s masterpiece, On Liberty. Mill’s most accessible work for those approaching him as a democratic theorist and useful for those interested in democratic citizenship as a political activity connected to self-expression, individual self-realization, and cultural nonconformity.

    Find this resource:

  • Sunstein, Cass R. Why societies need dissent. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A restatement and updating of Mill’s ideas on why conformism in democratic societies ought to be met by dissent—a kind of necessary conflict that gets democratic citizens to reflect on democratic citizenship.

    Find this resource:

Feminist Theories of Citizenship

The deeply gendered nature of early modern liberalism and the formal exclusions of women from democracy inspired feminist theories of democratic citizenship in England and the United States. In the United States one key figure was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and in England, Mary Wollstonecraft (better known for her gothic novel Frankenstein) provided a foundational account, A Vindication of the Rights of Women. For Stanton’s speech “Solitude of Self,” consult Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Tomaselli 2010 in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a useful introduction. John Stuart Mill was also passionately feminist. See Liberty Fund 2011 for his work on the subject, and Baehr 2008 for background on his beliefs.

Contemporary Theorizing about Democratic Citizenship

The tension between hope and unease concerning democratic citizenship that spans different eras of political philosophy became particularly sharp when democratic citizens overthrew German democracy in the early 1930s and voted Adolf Hitler into power. Moreover, millions of democratic citizens harbored admiration to one degree or another not only of Nazi Germany but also of the Soviet system, considering them solutions to the supposed weakness of democracy or the misery of capitalism, and they either did not know about or turned a blind eye to Nazi and Stalinist brutality. Democratic citizenship faced a terrible crisis, yet the depth of citizen sacrifice in World War II to defend political democracy and the fierce resistance to Nazi occupation in conquered democracies, followed by the postwar western European embrace of political democracy, enabled continued theorizing about the surprising resilience and possibilities of democratic citizenship. One possible typology would single out four schools: Straussianism, contemporary liberalism, communitarianism, and contentiously participatory citizenship.

Leo Strauss and His School

Those who worry that there are inhumane possibilities in democratic citizenship and that they might yet lead to a collapse of democracy include Leo Strauss and his followers. Strauss’s pessimism about how liberal democracy had collapsed in Europe and his Socratic concern that citizens hated philosophy made him seem like a reactionary critic. But Pangle 2006 provides a fair appreciation of Strauss and his relevance.

  • Pangle, Thomas L. Leo Strauss: An Introduction to His Thought and Intellectual Legacy. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses the extent of Strauss’s influence and why Strauss’s reading of politics and its relationship to philosophy speaks to friends of liberal democracy.

    Find this resource:

Contemporary Liberalism

A more hopeful view of liberalism can be found in such thinkers as Isaiah Berlin, Don Herzog, Stephen Holmes, and John Rawls. Berlin (see Crowder 2004), who defended freedom and its relationship to political liberalism, and Rawls (see Richardson 2005), who believed that political liberalism could produce justice, are much better known and wrote more widely and deeply than either Herzog or Holmes. But Herzog and Holmes require mention for their productivity and elaboration of liberalism as substantive, not merely procedural (Herzog 2000, Holmes 1995).

  • Crowder, George. Isaiah Berlin: Liberty, Pluralism, and Liberalism. Oxford: Polity, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Locates Berlin in relationship to totalitarianism and Berlin’s effort to discern the origins of totalitarianism in Western political thought that preceded totalitarianism and that was quite far from recognizably totalitarian. Also presents Berlin’s positive philosophy of how political liberalism could be sustained in the face of its enemies.

    Find this resource:

  • Herzog, Don. Poisoning the Minds of the Lower Orders. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that (and shows how and with what preoccupations) ordinary citizens developed political liberalism in reading societies and Sunday schools in England in the wake of the Enlightenment and the putative horror of the French Revolution—and in the face of the contempt for the lower orders that contemporary commentators published and disseminated.

    Find this resource:

  • Holmes, Stephen. Passions and Constraint: On the Theory of Liberal Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of essays meant to address common criticisms of political liberalism that are leveled by antiliberal thinkers fashionable in the American academy.

    Find this resource:

  • Richardson, Henry S. “John Rawls.” In Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by James Fieser and Bradley Dowden. 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Focuses mostly on Rawls’s Theory of Justice but also covers his later work on political liberalism. Seeks to substantiate its claim that “John Rawls was arguably the most important political philosopher of the 20th century.”

    Find this resource:

Communitarianism

Communitarian thinkers, such as Amitai Etzioni, a sociologist, and Michael J. Sandel, a political theorist, emphasize that democratic citizenship requires mutual trust and a common vocabulary for talking about disagreement and for eliciting some measure of sacrifice for the common good. Etzioni 1995 and Sandel 1996 are good introductions to their thought.

  • Etzioni, Amitai, ed. New Communitarian Thinking: Persons, Virtues, Institutions, and Communities. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of essays that seek to show that moral and political engagement of citizens around divisive questions, such as abortion or homosexuality, is possible and desirable.

    Find this resource:

  • Sandel, Michael J. Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A widely remarked effort to recover a more civic republican approach, both through historical and philosophical analysis, to American politics and liberal democracy. Political debate in democracy is enriched by citizen engagement with questions of character, virtue, and morality.

    Find this resource:

Contentiously Participatory Citizenship

In contrast to contemporary liberalism and communitarianism (see Contemporary Liberalism, Communitarianism), there is a more overtly dissatisfied and impatient vein in contemporary theorizing that underscores the importance and value of broadly contentious, highly participatory, and inclusive political engagement. A foundational figure is Hannah Arendt (d’Entreves 2008). Arendt emphasized courageous public action by engaged citizens to defend and invigorate constitutional democracy. Arendt’s emphasis on courage, coupled with the rise of protest movements such as the American civil-rights movements, whose members seemed dedicated to pressing other citizens and public officials to uphold and realize their own constitutional and democratic norms, has helped sustain interest in Arendt’s work. Similar theorizing can be found in Barber 1984, Carole Pateman, and Walzer 1982. For an instructive game-theoretic account that finds self-interest at work in Arendtian courage, see Chong 1991.

  • Barber, Benjamin. Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that political participation is the cornerstone of political democracy and suggests its extension to new venues for self-government.

    Find this resource:

  • Carole Pateman. Carole Pateman. Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, Virginia Tech University.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An introduction to Carole Pateman, with particular emphasis on feminist freedom as a condition of a fuller realization of liberal democracy’s potential for democratic self-government.

    Find this resource:

  • Chong, Dennis. Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A work that applies game-theoretic insights—and thus is of wide comparative significance—to civil-rights movements. Civil rights requires courageous, Arendtian action, but Chong uncovers elements of calculation and cost-benefit analysis at the core of such action.

    Find this resource:

  • d’Entreves, Maurizio Passerin. “Hannah Arendt.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A useful, short introduction with bibliographies that emphasizes Arendt’s role in philosophy and more clearly connects her philosophical contributions to her theory of democratic citizenship.

    Find this resource:

  • Walzer, Michael. Obligations: Essays on Disobedience, War, and Citizenship. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of essays by the noted theorist Michael Walzer, many of which consider whether there is an obligation to disobey military service and, if so, why and when it must be acted on.

    Find this resource:

Modern Politics of Democratic Citizenship

T. H. Marshall, a London School of Economics sociologist, wrote a highly influential essay, “Citizenship and Social Class” (Marshall 1950), which sketched an evolutionary process from civil rights (such as the right to marry or to sign a valid contract) to political rights (the rights to vote and hold office) to social rights (the right to old-age income insurance or health insurance). This account framed each of these rights as a ladder-like and interconnected hierarchy. But such framing lies, conceptually, only a short step away from the ensuing profusion of work that abandons Marshall’s strong assumption of inevitable hierarchy and that identifies and seeks to explain different national trajectories and patterns of more or less partial “layering” of such rights across different constituencies and groups (wage earners without property; women; racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities) and greater or lesser degrees of fulfillment of such rights and liberties. Once such conceptual steps were taken, analysts were then free to investigate a wide range of relevant explanatory and causal mechanisms. These include the roles of advocates motivated to act for altruistic or interested reasons, group and protest consciousness, and the inventive deployment of political resources by rights seekers. On this view, democratic citizenship is inevitably incomplete in a wide range of ways in settings that are nominally democratic (for a conceptualization along these lines, see Smith 1997). One typically finds that the focus in such explanatory work is on the constant activity by elites and citizens to reconstitute citizenship or to resist that reconstitution. Democratic citizenship is thus seen as tightly connected to what might best be termed “reconstructive struggles over time.” (For an exception, see Shklar 1991.) Some work generally shares the focus on actors and politics to be found in the Marshallian school, broadly speaking, but self-consciously tries to go past it by emphasizing the need to consider both the rise of identity politics, which makes new kinds of rights claims, and the rise of multiculturalism in democracies with conquered indigenous populations or deep ethnolinguistic divisions; think here, for example, of all of the Latin American regimes with larger or smaller indigenous populations as well as Australia, Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, Spain, and the United States. For a general introduction, see Turner 1997.

  • Marshall, T. H. Citizenship and Social Class and Other Essays. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1950.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This frequently reprinted volume contains the famous essay and some lesser-known and less important works.

    Find this resource:

  • Shklar, Judith. American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Quarrels with the idea that the American founding is the source of American citizenship, emphasizing instead the role of Jacksonian democracy and its focus on working and voting as indicators of full American citizenship.

    Find this resource:

  • Smith, Rogers. Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Demonstrates and critiques the deeply illiberal exclusions of the American founding, arguing that slavery, property, conquest of Native Americans, and female subjugation generated an alternative tradition of “ascriptive citizenship.”

    Find this resource:

  • Turner, Bryan S. “Citizenship Studies: A General Theory.” Citizenship Studies 1.1 (1997): 5–18.

    DOI: 10.1080/13621029708420644Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A suggestive piece that describes how Marshall’s essay stimulated alternative models of citizenship that seek to displace or go beyond Marshall.

    Find this resource:

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Although T. H. Marshall did not explicitly identify civil liberties in “Citizenship and Social Class”—such civil liberties as freedom of assembly or speech—his evolutionary scheme clearly implies them. Two works that emphasize the role of judges and lawyers in their development are Epp 1998, which focuses on “support coalitions” of lawyers who are organized to pay the costs of litigation required to entrench or extend civil rights and civil liberties, and Kersch 2004, which (treating the US case) focuses more on surprising ways judges will develop civil-liberties jurisprudence.

  • Epp, Charles. The Rights Revolution: Lawyers, Activists, and Supreme Courts in Comparative Perspective. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Treats not just the United States but also Canada and India, showing that the rule of law that enriches and reinforces democratic citizenship takes contentious litigation to develop.

    Find this resource:

  • Kersch, Ken I. Constructing Civil Liberties: Discontinuities in American Constitutional Law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511606809Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Demonstrates that there is no immanent, inner logic to the development of civil liberties in the United States. Civil-liberties jurisprudence had to be invented, and it could have been invented and developed in several different ways. How it actually evolved requires historical tracing and explanation.

    Find this resource:

Collective Memory and Citizenship

Another way citizens “reconstitute” their collective identities as democratic citizens is through telling stories about themselves. The classic work that proposed this fundamental insight is Anderson 1993. For a work extending this insight, see Smith 2003.

  • Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. Rev. ed. London: Verso, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The title is one of the most effectively mnemonic titles ever devised for communicating a powerful insight: democratic nation-states are simply too large for citizens to know one another personally, so they instead “imagine” one another and in doing that emphasize certain traits and not others. This kind of reconstructive activity can be both inclusionary and illiberal and exclusionary.

    Find this resource:

  • Smith, Rogers M. Stories of Peoplehood: The Politics and Morals of Political Membership. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511490347Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Smith builds on Benedict Anderson, whose book treats many more kinds of cases than modern liberal democracies, by zeroing in on the ways liberal democracies can be based on illiberal “stories of peoplehood.”

    Find this resource:

Identity Politics

Identity politics is the idea that you are very different or that the group that you identify with is very different from the mainstream in democratic politics. The recognition of identity and the idea that group identities ought to be recognized, tolerated, respected, or protected can require contentious politics, an example being the confrontational sit-ins staged by gay activists at US government health institutes during the 1980s to force attention to the AIDS crisis sweeping through urban male gay communities. This is the kind of politics that critics of the Marshallian construct have had in mind when they stress its incompleteness. Berman 1993 is a review essay that also discusses identity politics both critically and sympathetically and emphasizes what might be termed its emancipatory potential. For a discussion of variable outcomes across policy areas in gay rights, arguing that different policy arenas feature predictably different political dynamics with different prospects for success, see Mucciaroni 2008. Heyes 2008 is a good starting place.

Multiculturalism

Language rights and community rights for indigenous populations have grown in importance, not faded away, a phenomenon that T. H. Marshall’s triad of civil, political, social rights hardly captures. Why and with what consequences for a liberal democracy? Kymlicka 2001 is a comprehensive collection of essays by a leading international theorist of the links between multiculturalism and citizenship. McDonough and Feinberg 2003 emphasizes conscious schooling for democratic values.

Political and Social Rights

The rights to vote and to hold office have been fiercely contested in all liberal democracies, as people who had those rights have resisted extending them to “second-class” citizens who did not have these rights either in law or in practice. But some of the enfranchised have also cooperated, at moments of great crisis or conflict, in developing new and more-inclusive forms of voting and office holding, in partnership with actors demanding such inclusion. What explains the different patterns of inclusion and exclusion? This question contrasts with the alternative story of fairly peaceful extension of the franchise, an unstoppable process of inclusion that might be straightforwardly predicted from social contract theory. But as the gradualist story has been shown to be wrong for more and more cases, analysts (e.g., in Markoff 2003, Valelly 2004, Klarman 2004, Przeworski 2008) have begun identifying and investigating a more complex way of understanding the enfranchisement and disenfranchisement of citizens in liberal democracies. With respect to social rights, the reality of conflict has been far more obvious, as Esping-Andersen 1990 and Katz 2008 show, in part because social rights require public finance systems in ways that political rights do not and because of gender divisions, as McClain and Grossman 2009 and O’Connor, et al. 1999 show.

Actual Citizen Capacities

The emergence in the late 1940s and early 1950s of scientific surveys, conducted at the University of Michigan and Columbia University, revolutionized scholarly understanding of democratic citizens and their views of politics. A seminal essay drawing out the implications of the research findings is Converse 1964, which shows that works by Walter Lippmann in the 1920s (Public Opinion [1922], The Phantom Public [1925]) were prescient and correct in their portrayal of citizens as baffled by politics and barely able to grasp policy debates and issues and to hold government accountable except through heavy reliance on partisan identities or group identities as cues or shortcuts. Much of political science—particularly American political science—has been about grappling with the disturbing account first proposed by Lippmann and confirmed by Philip Converse. For a treatment distinguishing attitudes and preferences, see Bartels 2003. A comprehensive overview of research on public opinion is Kinder 2004. For the impact of globalization on public opinion, see Kuklinski, et al. 2008.

  • Bartels, Larry M. “Democracy with Attitudes.” In Electoral Democracy. Edited by Michael B. MacKuen and George Rabinowitz, 48–82. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A survey of the literature that updates Converse and argues for reckoning with the full implications of the Lippmann-Converse account.

    Find this resource:

  • Converse, Philip. “The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics.” In Ideology and Discontent. Edited by David E. Apter, 206–261. New York: Free Press, 1964.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    How sophisticated and well informed are democratic citizens, even at moments of enormous conflict or intense politicking that seemingly grip an entire country? Converse provides a famous answer: inattention is very high, even at such moments.

    Find this resource:

  • Kinder, Donald. “Pale Democracy: Opinion and Action in Postwar America.” In Theory and Inquiry in American Politics. Edited by Edward D. Mansfield and Richard Sisson, 104–147. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A survey similar to Bartels 2003, with a bit more attention to the range of issues and questions that researchers have considered.

    Find this resource:

  • Kuklinski, James H., Paul H. Quirk, and Buddy Peyton. “Issues, Information Flows, and Cognitive Capacities: Democratic Citizenship in a Global Era.” In International Perspectives on Contemporary Democracy. Edited by Peter F. Nardulli, 115–133. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An introduction to the question of whether citizens can understand the policy issues, such as trade policy, that have become more salient as a result of globalization.

    Find this resource:

Information Environments

Citizens become informed in an environment of newspapers and web-based and broadcast media. But that environment can change in far-reaching ways. The current collapse of US print journalism is one example; another example is the end of the monopoly that the evening news had on how huge numbers of American citizens became informed (Prior 2007). Schudson 1999 explores whether news providers have to be “serious” and “sincere,” shedding light on increasingly biased information from partisan sources.

  • Prior, Markus. Post-Broadcast Democracy: How Media Choice Increases Inequality in Political Involvement and Polarizes Elections. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Analyzes the impact on citizens’ likelihood of being fairly well informed about politics, stemming from the breakdown of the “golden age” of broadcast news, in which a very small number of broadcast networks dominated the transmission of succinct coverage of politics at the same time every night, and from the rise of choice in media consumption.

    Find this resource:

  • Schudson, Michael. “Social Origins of Press Cynicism in Portraying Politics.” American Behavioral Scientist 42 (1999): 998–1008.

    DOI: 10.1177/00027649921954714Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses limits of the concern that press cynicism is worrisome for democracy and for the ability of citizens to get what they need to know.

    Find this resource:

Low-Information Rationality

The major alternative to the Lippmann-Converse account (see Actual Citizen Capacities) is that citizens do well enough under the circumstances. The term for this is “low-information rationality.” Popkin 1991 is the best treatment of this concept.

  • Popkin, Samuel. The Reasoning Voter: Communication and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This work did much to disseminate the concept of “low-information rationality.” Argues that efforts by politicians to “frame” what they stand for are usefully informative for citizens.

    Find this resource:

Partisanship and Information Levels

Citizens have partisan identities, which means that they can have preconceptions about policy questions, for better and for worse, if their partisan affiliation is also associated with a “liberal” or “conservative” ideology. But when are such preconceptions a problem, and when are they policy preferences that demand political accountability? Bartels 2008 identifies both kinds of cases; Gaines, et al. 2007 shows that attitudes toward the Iraq War were rooted in the tight interlacing of partisan identity and ideology; and Levendusky 2009 and Stoker and Jennings 2008 shows that the tight connections between partisanship and ideology result from sorting among the citizenry over time.

Policy Construction of Citizenship

A truism in political science is that policies create politics. For a work that introduces and discusses this idea quite well, see Pierson 1993. Considerable progress has been made in showing how the “feedback” of policies can construct civic identities, as suggested in Mettler and Soss 2004 and Soss and Schram 2007. A landmark study is Mettler 2005. What these and similar works show is that policies inform citizens and that citizens become better informed, more participatory, or more civic by virtue of having been affected (and knowing that they have been affected) by a public policy or program.

  • Mettler, Suzanne. Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest Generation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A landmark study of whether the G.I. Bill was a broadly inclusive measure that—net of the effects of military service—made veterans more civically minded. Do policies that honor service to a democracy desirably transform those who are honored? Mettler proposes an optimistic account based on analysis of large mail surveys.

    Find this resource:

  • Mettler, Suzanne, and Joe Soss. “The Consequences of Public Policy for Democratic Citizenship: Bridging Policy Studies and Mass Politics.” Perspectives on Politics 2 (2004): 55–73.

    DOI: 10.1017/S1537592704000623Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A survey that spells out the particular mechanisms through which public policies affect and alter public opinion and citizen behavior once the policies are in place.

    Find this resource:

  • Pierson, Paul. “When Effect Becomes Cause.” World Politics 45 (1993): 595–628.

    DOI: 10.2307/2950710Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An introduction to and discussion of what Pierson calls the “interpretive” or attitude-changing effects of public policies once they are implemented.

    Find this resource:

  • Soss, Joe, and Sanford F. Schram. “A Public Transformed? Welfare Reform as Policy Feedback.” American Political Science Review 101 (2007): 111–128.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0003055407070049Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses which kinds of policies are less likely to “feed back” into the political system and change attitudes and behavior.

    Find this resource:

Special Cases of Science-Related Policy and Terrorism

Some policy questions and issues are very difficult or frightening for democratic citizens, and these can lead to overreaction or inactivity. Two examples are climate change and terrorism. Bord, et al. 2000; Prewitt 1982; and Sunstein 2007 all touch on climate change. Lupia and Menning 2009 discusses the impact of terrorism.

Toleration and Intolerance

Such phenomena as the Joseph McCarthy period of the 1950s and, before that, the citizen overthrow of democracy in Weimar Germany and the election of Adolf Hitler as German chancellor generated a continuing interest among political scientists in trying to understand tolerance and intolerance among democratic citizens. The central insight in these works is that precisely because democratic citizens are not deferential but instead are active participants in their own political destinies, these same citizens can surrender their freedoms out of fear or they may demonize enemies within and thus violate the norms to which they ordinarily subscribe but which they may abandon in moments of fright and sustained mass anxiety. Thus, the norm of toleration and its sources becomes critically important. These are explored in Borgida, et al. 2009; Nie, et al. 1996; and Stenner 2005. But Rogin 1967 provides a now-classic caution against elite distrust of social movements.

  • Borgida, Eugene H., Christopher M. Federico, and John L. Sullivan, eds. The Political Psychology of Democratic Citizenship. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335453.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Surveys the state of cutting-edge research and findings on the psychology of democratic citizens with respect to intolerance and identity and how electoral processes and the media environment influence them.

    Find this resource:

  • Nie, Norman H., Jane Junn, and Kenneth Stehlik-Barry. Education and Democratic Citizenship in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Treats the American case, emphasizing the effects of formal education and educational attainment. To the extent that democracies support schools and higher education, they help to create the kinds of citizens who will resist intolerance.

    Find this resource:

  • Rogin, Michael Paul. The Intellectuals and McCarthy: The Radical Specter. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1967.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A work that sorts out real from imagined movements against democracy from within democracy. Early post–World War II analysis in the United States singled out, for instance, the Populist movement as a kind of precursor of fascism. Rogin argues that Populism was in fact a thoughtful instance of grassroots agrarian democracy seeking to change public policy.

    Find this resource:

  • Stenner, Karen. The Authoritarian Dynamic. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A cross-national study that can allow one to see if the findings of Nie, et al. 1996 for the United States generalize to political systems that have experienced far-more-frightening instances of mass intolerance and fascism.

    Find this resource:

Trust and Discontent

Citizen mistrust of government in the advanced Western democracies has been much remarked on, and nowhere more so, given a political culture of government bashing, than in the United States. Surveys of citizens show that they once would agree at very high levels (relative to the levels reported today) with statements such as “Government can be trusted to do what is right most of the time” or “Government is run in the interests of all and not a few special interests” or “Few politicians are crooked” or “On the whole there is not much waste in government.” The shifts are not uniform across countries, and they seem correlated with major public events and scandals, such as failed military intervention (e.g., Vietnam) and impeachment and resignation of a sitting president (e.g., Richard Nixon and Watergate). Braithwaite and Levi 1998 considers the relevance of trust for regulation and taxation. Hetherington 2005 analyzes the sources and depth of citizen distrust in the US case and its systemic impact. Ingram and Smith 1993 and Macedo 2005 treat how policies and institutions can foster citizen engagement with government and politics.

  • Braithwaite, Valerie, and Margaret Levi, eds. Trust and Governance. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wide range of essays on trust and its effects on public finance and local government and on relationships between legislators and their constituents (since legislators control the power of the purse).

    Find this resource:

  • Hetherington, Marc J. Why Trust Matters: Declining Political Trust and the Demise of American Liberalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A careful analysis of the emergence of citizen mistrust of American government and its policy implications. Americans no longer trust government at particularly high levels, as shown in surveys, but this does not mean that they are government-bashing conservatives. Certain kinds of public policies may be more likely under conditions of low trust; others, under conditions of higher trust.

    Find this resource:

  • Ingram, Helen, and Steven S. Smith, eds. Public Policy for Democracy. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Policies and policy implementation create contexts for citizenship, suggesting that policies can undermine or reinforce citizen engagement.

    Find this resource:

  • Macedo, Stephen, ed. Democracy at Risk: How Political Choices Undermine Citizen Participation and What We Can Do about It. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2005.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores how satisfying various avenues for citizen participation actually are, and what can be done to improve them.

    Find this resource:

Obligations

Democratic citizenship involves not just rights but obligations as well: the obligation to obey the law, to pay taxes, to defend the jurisdiction in which one is a citizen, and to serve on a jury. All of these obligations are or can be painful, and all involve more or less shirking or evasion by some number of citizens. But socially destructive rates of shirking and evasion never emerge. Tyler 2006, Levi 1989, Levi 1997, Slemrod 1992, and the Jury and Democracy Project trace the institutional conditions for compliance with difficult obligations. In fact, some citizens embrace service and obligations, as Parker 2009 emphasizes, or find that they were rewarded by difficult compliance, as in the case of jury service. Snyder 1999 traces how military service configures gender roles and can be a site for different kinds of relationships between military service and the ascriptive traits of different citizens.

Contemporary Projects for Strengthening Democratic Citizenship

In advanced industrial democracies, citizenship often seems overwhelmed or subverted by consumerism and mass entertainment. Governments are now complex and highly bureaucratic. Policy questions are complicated and generate deep disagreement among experts. Such features of advanced democracies have attracted interest in programs for strengthening democratic citizenship. These can be grouped under the headings of associationalism and democracy, civic education, civic engagement, deliberative democracy, and transparency, each with a mix of analysis, prescription, and internal critique of the project.

Associationalism and Democracy

One view of associationalism, well explored in Gutmann 1998, is that it is good for its own sake, because participation in associations requires the participants to learn politically relevant skills. Rosenblum 2008 reframes associationalism by addressing how parties and partisanship create particularly broad and responsible associations. The revival of associationalism also extends to asking whether citizens can solve pressing policy problems through the trust and diffusion of political skills that associations generate, a point explored in Cohen and Rogers 1995 and in Skocpol 2004.

  • Cohen, Joshua, and Joel Rogers, eds. Associations and Democracy. Real Utopias Project 1. London: Verso, 1995.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that associations can flexibly solve the problem of how to locally adjust the implementation of broad policy goals (say, workplace safety) or economic goals (say, renegotiation of workplace process engineering to promote firm productivity and to approximate the economic ideal known as “total factor productivity” in certain kinds of industrial settings).

    Find this resource:

  • Gutmann, Amy, ed. Freedom of Association. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Collection of essays by leading democratic theorists, who explore the moral and civic value to democratic citizens of participation in voluntary associations. Entries include a treatment of associational life in cities, trade unionism, and ethnic and religious associations, as well as treatments of involuntary associations.

    Find this resource:

  • Rosenblum, Nancy L. On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties and Partisanship. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Defends the special associational advantages to citizens of partisanship.

    Find this resource:

  • Skocpol, Theda. “Voice and Inequality: The Contemporary Transformation of American Civic Democracy.” Perspectives on Politics 2 (2004): 3–20.

    DOI: 10.1017/S1537592704000593Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Reviews the findings of sociologists and economists concerning the evolution of the American system of voluntary associations and interest groups, whether such long-run evolution has been affected by inequality or instead affects it (by reinforcing it), and whether the evolution of the US group system has affected national policymaking processes in such a way that new policies that can reduce income inequality are now more or less likely than before.

    Find this resource:

Civic Education

Civic education is a subfield concerned with whether participation is educative and, if so, whether it provides a good education. For an introduction, see Crittenden 2010. The “civic education” element in the revival of citizenship stems from the recognition that people are very busy in advanced industrial democracies and some people—possibly large numbers of people—can be ignorant or actively alienated from concerns that better-informed citizens have. The best way to make citizens be good citizens is a preoccupation that can be traced to John Dewey, John Stuart Mill (see John Stuart Mill and Late Modern Liberalism), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (see The Enlightenment and Popular Reasonableness), and Baron de Machiavelli (see Early Modern Philosophers). One obvious focus in the literature is schools themselves. Gutmann 1999 treats how public education ought to work from the standpoint of providing good citizens. Galston 2001 surveys the literature on the educative effects of engagement. Macedo and Tamir 2002 provides focused essays on whether formal education can teach democratic values and whether that ought to be a task performed by schools, and applications of these questions to whether schools can overcome distrust between blacks and whites. Wolf, et al. 2004 provides cross-national coverage of the questions raised in Gutmann 1999 and treated in Galston 2001. In addition to focusing on formal schooling and nonelectoral participation, the “civic education” area of inquiry has a clear connection to empirical political science, which emphasizes that educational attainment or strong substitutes for it, such as military service, will make citizens much more likely to acquire and keep the habit of voting. Here a foundational work is Wolfinger and Rosenstone 1980.

  • Crittenden, Jack. “Civic Education.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. 2010.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Short introduction to the literature on civic education and its concerns, with a full bibliography.

    Find this resource:

  • Galston, William. “Political Knowledge, Political Engagement, and Civic Education.” Annual Review of Political Science 4 (2001): 217–234.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Surveys various strands of argument and thought on the connections between political knowledge and civic engagement, and the educative effects of both.

    Find this resource:

  • Gutmann, Amy. Democratic Education. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Asks who should have the authority to educate children and adolescents and proposes a theory of how the democratic practice of providing education should work.

    Find this resource:

  • Macedo, Stephen, and Yoel Tamir, eds. Moral and Political Education. New York: New York University Press, 2002.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Volume provides focused essays on whether formal education can teach democratic values and whether that ought to be a task performed by schools, and applications of these questions to whether schools can overcome distrust between blacks and whites.

    Find this resource:

  • Wolf, Patrick, and Stephen Macedo, eds., with David J. Ferrero and Charles Venegoni. Educating Citizens: International Perspectives on Civic Values and School Choice. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2004.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides cross-national coverage (the United States, Canada, Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and Wales) of how schools ought to be run and whether differences in how they are operated affect the inculcation of civic values.

    Find this resource:

  • Wolfinger, Raymond, and Steven Rosenstone. Who Votes? New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Investigates what traits individuals who vote regularly have and what those who do not vote regularly or who do not vote at all have. Finds that the single most powerful explanatory variable, controlling for a range of plausible alternative variables such as socioeconomic status, is degree of educational attainment and of substitutes for attainment.

    Find this resource:

Civic Engagement

Some see civic engagement as a pet “good government” project of social scientists and university and college administrators. Crenson and Ginsberg 2004 explains why the authors see this as a serious question and why they worry that the revival of academic and philanthropic interest in civic engagement misses a larger possibility: that political and social elites really do not want broad, popular civic engagement. Another feature of the revival of interest in civic engagement is analysis that tries to explain whether there are seasons for civic engagement followed by seasons of personal or social quiescence, and Hirschman 1982, a little-known meditation on this cycle, is a good place to start on cycles in civic engagement. Civic engagement has been affected often by technological change, or so it is popularly thought. Smith, et al. 2009 suggests that the impact of the Internet can be overstated, while Sunstein 2007, in contrast, argues for the considerable and not entirely desirable impact of the Internet on how democratic citizens develop their mental habits and writing skills. For continuing research on social media, see Pew Internet.

Deliberative Democracy

Deliberative democracy is the idea that citizens mutually develop, through rational discourse, good reasons for having government act in one way or another. A widely noted discussion is Guttman and Thompson 2004. Macedo 1999 provides an interdisciplinary collection of essays by legal scholars, political scientists, and democratic theorists. Another approach is more tightly focused on enhancing government effectiveness, asking, for example, “What do people who are interested in having citizens deliberate together—say, about how to manage public schools or how to implement an environmental standard in an industrial park—have in mind for making that work both realistically and desirably?” Fung and Wright 1999 provides plausible answers. The Center for Deliberative Democracy reports on practical application of what is known as deliberative polling, a technique for eliciting very well-informed views from a representative sample of citizens. For the theory behind it, see Fishkin 2009.

Transparency

Democratic citizens can hardly be expected to follow what their governments are doing and hold public officials accountable if most of what government does is either kept secret or is confusing. But some secrets have to be kept in order for the social contract to work. Or do they? Just how transparent can government realistically be? Among the policy-relevant theorists of transparency and open government is Archon Fung of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, who maintains Archon Fung.

Territorial Space and Democratic Citizenship

Democratic citizenship takes place in nation-states, but nation-states have subnational political units, such as cantons, provinces, and states; nation-states accept people from other nation-states, people who come both “legally” and “illegally” (since nation-states, like all states, control their borders); and nation-states are part of an international state system. These spatial aspects of democratic citizenship have come into particularly sharp relief as the world has become more “globalized,” that is, as communications systems permit rapid, even instantaneous interpersonal contact; as currencies, goods, and services are traded internationally at much higher levels than before; as the international transfer of new communications, computational, manufacturing, military, national security, resource extraction, and transportation technologies increases; and as travel becomes much easier, safer, and cheaper. All this permits population transfers from places where more-slowly evolving or traditional societies have been sharply disrupted by the other kinds of transfers to the places that have generated such disruptions. The literature on democratic citizenship has sought to take account of the “places” of democratic citizenship under several headings: dual citizenship, international political federations such as the European Union, federalism, and the implications of migration for national citizenship in democracies (and vice versa).

Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship has spread, and in certain democratic nations it is politically consequential. For example, Dominican politicians reside and campaign for votes in New York City among Dominican American communities in that city. Guarnizo 2001 provides a discussion involving the US case, but a full treatment of the phenomenon remains to be written not just for the US case but for other cases—for instance, the Arabian Peninsula, Southeast Asia, Australia, Japan, and Europe.

  • Guarnizo, Luis Eduardo. “On the Political Participation of Transnational Migrants: Old Practices and New Trends.” In E Pluribus Unum? Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Immigrant Political Incorporation. Edited by Gary Gerstle and John Mollenkopf, 213–262. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Surveys several Hispanic populations in the United States and their “dual” participation in politics both in their home countries and in the United States.

    Find this resource:

European Union and Citizenship

A major experiment in transnational democratic citizenship is under way in the European Union. For an introduction see Dell’Olio 2005.

Federalism and Citizenship

People are not just citizens of a nation; they also are citizens of subnational jurisdictions with their own semiautonomous political processes and legal systems and with their own distinctive policy responsibilities, such as police or public education. Ignatieff 1994 treats how federalism can balance competing claims of citizenship based either on ethnicity or civic membership without regard to national or cultural heritage. A work that explores the implications of federalism for social rights is Mettler 1998. For a general treatment of federalism in the context of immigration and its implications for democratic citizenship, see Jackson 2001. For a discussion of implications for gay rights, see Grundy and Smith 2005. In contrast, Schlozman and Yohai 2008 shows that subnational politics is not necessarily a better venue for the development of citizen capacities.

  • Grundy, John, and Miriam Smith. “The Politics of Multiscalar Citizenship: The Case of Lesbian and Gay Organizing in Canada.” Citizenship Studies 9 (2005): 390–404.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Political activism by democratic citizens can “slide” along a jurisdictional scale from local to state or from provincial to national. Focuses on the case of lesbian and gay organizing in Canada.

    Find this resource:

  • Ignatieff, Michael. Blood and Belonging: Journeys into the New Nationalism. New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1994.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Pictures federalism as a worthy but unstable institutional resolution of two kinds of nationalism, civic and ethnic. Civic nationalism in a democratic context tolerates ethnic diversity and can tolerate ethnic nationalists within a nation’s borders through the structure of federalism. But federalism eventually seems insufficient to the ethnic nationalists. Federalism is thus a liberal solution to illiberal nationalism that over time may fail to tame illiberal nationalism.

    Find this resource:

  • Jackson, Vicki C. “Federalism and Citizenship.” In Citizenship Today: Global Perspectives and Practices. Edited by T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Douglas Klusmeyer, 127–182. Philadelphia: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2001.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A short essay that shows that subnational jurisdictions are, paradoxically, becoming more relevant to democratic citizenship in a globalizing context. The nation-state has seemingly weakened with increased trade, and subnational territories (Catalonia, Scotland, and Wales, for example) that once were politically quiescent have seen the rise of new demands for political recognition and autonomy. This essay can get one started on thinking about such phenomena.

    Find this resource:

  • Mettler, Suzanne. Dividing Citizens: Gender and Federalism in New Deal Public Policy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Shows that New Deal social policies, seemingly so inclusive, were profoundly gendered in part because they were implemented in a federal system.

    Find this resource:

  • Schlozman, Daniel, and Ian Yohai. “How Initiatives Don’t Always Make Citizens: Ballot Initiatives in the American States, 1978–2004.” Political Behavior 30 (2008): 469–490.

    DOI: 10.1007/s11109-008-9062-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Shows that the referendum and initiative process in California politics does not improve citizen knowledge or sense of efficacy.

    Find this resource:

Migrants, Migration, and Their Implications

Huge numbers of “new” people who look, dress, speak, and worship differently than “old” people in existing nation-states have arrived in advanced industrial democracies. Does democratic citizenship require their formal and informal assimilation? Why or why not? Why does such assimilation happen without particularly deep conflict in some places but not others? These and similar questions are on the agendas of a large number of democracies, and they challenge the teleology of the Marshallian construct for understanding the development of democratic citizenship. Benhabib 2004 emphasizes that democratic citizens have obligations to newcomers. Bosniak 2006 focuses on alienage, a temporary status prior to naturalization. Fox 2005 outlines a concept of transnational citizenship. For discussion of how globalization changes national citizenship, see Saskia Sassen. Soysal 1994 outlines how immigrants have changed European conceptions of citizenship. Thomas 2002 usefully sketches the struggle to devise an analytic typology for handling commonalities across the national cases.

LAST MODIFIED: 11/29/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199756223-0013

back to top

Article

Up

Down