Thursday, December 11, 2008

What is Active Citizenship

active citizen - a citizen who takes an active role in the community

Active citizenship generally refers to a philosophy espoused by some organizations and educational institutions. It often states that members of companies or nation-states have certain roles and responsibilities to society and the environment, although those members may not have specific governing roles.

Active citizenship can be seen as an articulation of the debate over rights versus responsibilities.

If a body gives rights to the people under its remit, then those same people might have certain responsibilities to uphold. This would be most obvious at a country or nation-state level, but could also be wider, such as global citizenship. The implication is that an active citizen is one who exercises both their rights and responsibilities in a balanced way. A problem with this concept is that although rights are often written down as part of law, responsibilities are not as well defined, and there may be disagreements amongst the citizens as to what the responsibilities are. For example, in the United Kingdom, citizens have the right to free healthcare, but voting in elections is not compulsory, even though many people would define this as a responsibility.

No comments: