Notes on Citizenship and Democracy.

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Democratic values and Citizenship

Chapter 1:  Types of democracy.

Started as a direct democracy in ancient Athens. A political system to give power to the people and safeguard the city state from land owning aristocracy.

Council of 500 who were changed regularly to come up with different ideas to improve their city state. Other citizens were duty bound to participate. Pericles introduced payments to encourage people to participate.

Today we have representative democracies. Citizens choose a group to represent them and this group make most of the decisions.

Negative element of modern democracy:        

 Electors become passive (most common and biggest threat)

Citizens are unable to participate in most decision of local, national, European and international level.

Positive element of modern democracy:

Values such as Liberty (freedoms of speech/expression, belief, association movement), Equality (gender, race), Tolerance (race, disabled), Participation (everyone have equal vote in elections), Patriotism (to do the best for your own state) and Loyalty

Multicultural societies will flourish in a democracy.

Democracy is the best solution to attain justice since there are law courts and policies try to reach social justice.

It is important to pass democratic values and the importance of being an active citizen to the young generation in order to safeguard our state and make sure its future is in the hands of critical thinking minds that can do good choices for their own country.

Chapter 2: What is citizenship?

This concept was needed to be rediscovered after different threats such as political crisis, environmental crisis and international threats such as aids emerged and led to the feeling of helplessness when one finds himself in front of these issues.

The European Union has become one big nation including 28 states. This led to the losing of frontiers and with the technology of today the citizens became citizens of the world.

This means that citizens shouldn’t only be concerned about what is happening only in their background but what’s happening around the world

The meaning of Democracy is fading away. We have to teach young citizens and nurture the importance of the concepts of Citizenship and Democracy through education.

It should be understood that democracy gives the best conditions for citizen to flourish and that Citizenship on the other hand is the means to achieve Democracy. B. Crick says that a state without citizenship or a program to achieve it is at great risk.

We should also instill the importance of active citizenship and participation at all level especially in the local level like social clubs, football clubs, NGOs etc.

Wain says that people should form pressure groups to guard mutual interests such as Lil Din l-Art Helwa in Malta. Also the media should be used as a powerful watchdog and be careful to avoid those that use it for their own interests.

It is through education that we have to instill in the young citizens rational and critical minds to control egoism and selfishness in a democracy.

Miller says that citizenship is not something people learn while growing up like eating and sleeping but is something that we have to indoctrinate into them through education. We should respect others’ ideas while being critical. Citizenship:

A set of rights and obligation t hat gives equal rights in political community.

A consumer of public service with consumer rights

Not only a right holder but has the duty to participate and shape his community.

 Parsons says that nowadays advertising and other media is influencing young people and the families are no longer the guidance and this creates instability, insecurity and independence. Therefore citizenship should be seen as a safety net that give equality to everyone and keep us safe against the challenges we face.

Oliver and Heater: A good citizen is one that enjoys his freedom and is vigilant to defend it against the abuse of power while participating in the local community.

Chapter 3:  Citizenship responsibility at all levels.

In Ancient Greece participation was a fundamental right as well as a duty. Liberty: freedom to do whatever you want without compromising the others’ freedom.

Young citizens should be aware of their responsibilities and be encouraged to take part in the shaping of their society.

Join now!

Citizens should be away of their rights and gain what they need from society while contributing in its development and their own well being.

Through education we should instill the importance of democratic citizenry while teaching young citizens the value of diversity which is an important value in democracy.

Active citizenship can be achieved through voluntary works. This way one improves his knowledge, motivation, skills and experience.

The European Commission designed a program that runs from 2007-2013 that encourages and recognizes voluntary works at all level, while promoting the values of tolerance and solidarity among young ...

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