Citizenship: A Very Short Introduction
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Interest in citizenship has never been higher. Politicians of all stripes stress its importance, as do church leaders, captains of industry and every kind of campaigning group--from those supporting global causes, such as tackling world poverty, to others with a largely local focus, such as combating neighborhood crime. In this brilliant, compact introduction, Richard Bellamy offers an eye-opening look at an idea that is as important as it is rare--the prospect of influencing government policy according to reasonably fair rules and on a more or less equal basis with others. Bringing together the most recent scholarship, the book sheds light on how ideas of citizenship have changed through time from ancient Greece to the present, looks at concepts such as membership and belonging, and highlights the relation between citizenship, rights, and democracy. Bellamy also examines the challenges confronting the very possibility of citizenship today, the impact of globalization, the desirability of "global citizenship," the teaching of citizenship in schools, citizenship tests for immigrants, and the many different definitions and types of citizenship in modern society.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
unanimously consent. Such consent, the theory goes, would be given only to a power that offers fair and equitable mechanisms and rules for securing their common interest to be able to pursue their own good in their own way, freeing them from the uncertainties of mutual harm without itself becoming a source of harm to them. In other words, it tries to unite the political ideal of the equality of virtuous citizens, who rule and are ruled in turn so as to uphold the public interest, with the legal
social rights. Initially, these had consisted simply of'the right to a modicum of economic welfare and security' but had gradually 48 been extended ‘to the right to share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life of a civilised being according to the standards prevailing in society’. So these rights came to include not only social insurance against unemployment or debilitating illness, but also more extensive rights to education, at least up to secondary school, and to health care
of establishing a world government, it is much harder to gauge world public opinion or for it to exert any inﬂuence. Moreover, greater diversity heightens the danger of majority tyranny over various minority views. International human rights charters are often derided – whether fairly or not – as the wish-lists of unrepresentative pressure groups. To overcome such criticism and command the resources they need to be effective, rights need to be able to win widespread political support. After all,
However, the biggest nettle to grasp is probably that of widening social and economic inequality. As we have seen, more than anything else it is the capacity for the wealthy to remove themselves from collective arrangements that erodes the commitment to a search for public solutions on the basis of political equality. Globalization is often blamed for this development, with the dominance of market forces said to be inevitable when companies can operate outside state control by organizing
production and exchange transnationally. Yet, such arguments appear to be exaggerated. As the example of the Scandinavian countries shows, it remains entirely possible for states to adapt to this new global economic environment and compete successfully, while retaining a commitment to their traditionally high levels of welfare and social spending. Moreover, through cooperation in regional bodies such as the EU, they have been able collectively to regulate global economic processes. Commentators