What is Citizenship

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					Introduction - What is Citizenship?




WHAT IS CITIZENSHIP?

What does it mean to be a citizen? What advantages does it offer? In this
section you will:

q     investigate the meaning of citizenship and the impact it has on people’s
      lives                                                                      Objectives

q     look at the rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship and
      how these develop over time

q     examine ways in which you feel included, or excluded, as a citizen,
      either at local, national or European level


Activity 1

Work with a partner, or in a small group, and brainstorm possible meanings
of the word CITIZEN. Write any words that come into your head that you            Activity
associate with citizen or citizenship. What does it mean? You don’t have to
explain your choices just get your ideas down on paper.

q     What is a citizen?

q     What are the rights of a citizen?

q     What are the responsibilities of a citizen?

q     What does it mean to be an active citizen?




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                                                             Introduction - What is Citizenship?




           Activity 2

           Here is a list of subjects that are commonly associated with citizens’ rights
Activity   and responsibilities. Choose one of these topics which is of particular interest
           to you and write down what you think are your rights and responsibilities
           in this area. In what ways are you involved? Is there anything stopping you
           from being involved? If you are working in a group, try to share the different
           topics between you and then report your findings back to the group. Here
           is an example to get you started:


              Topic       What are         What are        In what    What prevents
                         your rights?        your        ways are you  you from
                                        responsibilities? involved?     getting
                                                                       involved?

            Education    free, good     to send my         make sure         feel school
                         quality        children to        my children       staff are
                         education      school, to         attend            judging me,
                         for my         support them       school, buy       don’t
                         children       while they learn   them the          understand my
                                                           equipment         children’s
                                                           they need,        homework,
                                                           attend parent     didn’t do well
                                                           teacher           at school
                                                           meetings          myself so how
                                                                             can I help my
                                                                             children?
                                                                             “teachers
                                                                             know best”




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Activity 2 continued

Citizens’ rights and responsibilities
                                                                 Activity
                                                                continued
    Topic           What are your rights?    What are your
                                            responsibilities?

 personal
 property



 family




 health




 education




 care




 voting




 old age




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            Activity 2 continued

            Citizens’ involvement and barriers to involvement
 Activity
continued
               Topic            In what ways                What prevents you
                              are you involved?           from getting involved?

             personal
             property



             family




             health




             education




             care




             voting




             old age




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European Citizenship

The modern idea of citizenship originally came from ancient Greek society,
where citizens had “a share in both ruling and being ruled” (Aristotle). These
principles are still the ideas used in democratic societies today, where
members elect representatives to governments, are expected to pay taxes
to finance shared expenses, and have a sense of loyalty towards their
communities.

To maintain the rights of citizens in Europe, there is the European Convention
of Human Rights, which outlines the entitlements of every individual citizen.
This was written in 1950, in an attempt to prevent conflicts within the region.


European Convention of Human Rights

All people without discrimination should be allowed:

 1    The right to protection of life by law.

 2    Freedom from slavery.

 3    Right to a fair trial.

 4    No prosecution under retrospective criminal legislation.

 5    Right to respect for private and family life.

 6    Freedom of thought, conscience, religion, expression and opinion.

 7    The right to form and belong to a trade union and other associations.

 8    Right to marry and found a family.

 9    Freedom from torture.

10    No discrimination on account of sex, race, colour, language, religion,
      political or other opinions, nationality or social origin, associated with
      a national minority, property, birth or other status.




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             Activity 3

             As a European citizen you are protected by this convention. What does it
 Activity    mean to you?

             Do you agree with all the conditions included in the European Convention?
             Why, or why not?



 What do
you think?



             Are there any rights you would like to see added?




             Can you think of anything in your life which is affected by this convention?




             Can you think of any instances in the past 50 years when the European Convention
             has been broken?




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Activity 4

Creating a new society
                                                                                   Activity
Rights, responsibilities and laws of society change over time in response to
needs and circumstances of society. In European society it is the responsibility
of governments to implement changes and for citizens to influence
governments to make the changes that they want.

Imagine what it would be like to create a new society from scratch. A group
of 40 people have agreed to take part in a social experiment and establish
a new community on a remote island off the north west coast of Scotland.
The island was previously uninhabited and in severe winter weather can
be cut-off from any contact with the mainland and neighbouring islands.
The group wants to be self-sufficient and to see if they can survive together
on the island for one year.

What basic rules and agreements might the island citizens need to make if
they are to live and work together? What do you think they might include
in their citizens’ charter? What problems might they face in forming a
successful new community?
                                                                                    What do
                                                                                   you think?




What qualities will the citizens of the island need in order to survive?




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            Activity 4 continued

            Imagine you are a member of the group living on the island. What would
 Activity   you include in your citizens’ charter?
continued
            If you are already working with a group of people, try negotiating a citizens’
            charter for life on the island? What problems do you have in agreeing on
            what to include in the charter for your new community? How can you
            resolve them?




            What similarities and what differences are there for citizens of your new
            society and the one you live in?




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Activity 5

Check up on your understanding of citizenship
                                                                       Activity
Does citizenship have the same meaning for everyone? Say why, or why
not.




Do some citizens have more rights and responsibilities than others?




How would you describe an “active citizen”?




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            Activity 5 continued

            How would you describe a “good citizen”?
 Activity
continued




            Has your understanding of citizenship changed after doing these Activities?
            If so, can you say in what ways?




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