Global Citizenship Essay

1161 words - 5 pages

The concept of citizenship and its boundaries are contested, yet its definition in the plainest form is to be a member of a political community, such as a nation-state and possess legal rights and political duties. As can be seen from its many ideals – namely republican, liberal, bound, cosmopolitan, pluralist or solidarist – citizenship has multiple sources of meaning, be they cultural, religious, ethnic or gender related. These conceptions each have their respective merits and downfalls, which shall be assessed and measured in this essay by the extent to which they permit the best use and protection of the citizen’s rights and duties. Although the arguments of Linklater (1998) and Miller (2000) shall form either side of the examination and debate between cosmopolitan citizenship (or what shall be referred to as global citizenship in this context) and bounded citizenship, it does not mean that by the end of this analysis one shall be the better alternative. Furthermore, the shared flaws of either shall be highlighted. This leads to the conclusion that a compromise can be found between the two; whereby the thoughts of Kant are considered (1795), particularly that of compassion towards the alien and having a representative form of cosmopolitan citizenship, yet also there is sympathy to be found within the argument that bounded citizenship promotes civic involvement and responsibility, which may be lost if a wholly cosmopolitan form was adopted.

In the case made by Miller (2000) he employs the natural evolution of bounded citizenship, which initially began ‘within the walls of the city-state’ (2000, p.88), as a reason for it being the better conception, as over time it has preserved its value – potentially at the expense of excluding others – by creating mutual trust and responsibility. This level of reciprocity links to the last of the three distinct claims made about the merits of bounded citizenship, which shall subsequently be discussed, in that by partaking in the responsibilities of voting properly and other duties, citizens enjoy the knowledge that by compromising on certain issues they shall be rewarded in the long-run, thus expressing their collective self- determination.

The first argument put forward by proponents of bounded citizenship is that it ensures the security of the rights and duties of citizens both within the state and from other states. Both Pufendorf (1682) and Vattel (1758) advocated this statist view in their literature, for the reason that this conception transmutes ideals and moral rights into a legal form, which is then guarded by the sovereign state. However, this point comes into contention when the modern influence of globalisation and the resulting economic/ political pressures of fellow states are considered. For example, although the Danish cartoonists who published the controversial images of Muhammad in the newspaper Jyllands- Posten in 2003 were legally allowed to do so, as prescribed in the Danish...

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