The Relative Merits Of Bounded And Global Citizenship

1966 words - 8 pages

The concept of citizenship and its boundaries are contested, yet its plainest definition is to be a member of a political community, such as a nation-state and possess legal rights and duties. Seen from its many ideals – namely bounded and cosmopolitan – citizenship has multiple sources of meaning, be they cultural, religious, ethnic or gender related. These conceptions each have merits and downfalls, measured in this essay by the extent to which they permit the best use and protection of citizen’s rights. Although the normative arguments of Miller (2000) and Linklater (1998) shall form either side of the bounded citizenship and cosmopolitan citizenship (also referred to as global citizenship) examination in this essay, one alternative is not conclusively better. Instead, there is a compromise between the two; whereby citizens enjoy their secured rights but also consider the wider implications of theirs and their state’s actions on the world, represented by their heads of state in international communications communities.

In the case made by Miller (2000) it is the natural evolution of bounded citizenship, beginning ‘within the walls of the city-state’ (2000, p.88), that means it is better, having preserved its value over time – potentially at the expense of excluding others – by maintaining mutual trust and responsibility. This reciprocity links to the final of the three claims concerning merits of bounded citizenship, subsequently to be discussed, in that citizens express their collective self- determination by partaking in the responsibilities of voting and thus enjoy the knowledge that compromising on certain issues leads to other long-term rewards. Moreover this promotes civic engagement as citizens directly reap the returns from the success of their actions.

The first argument advocating bounded citizenship is that it ensures the security of rights within and from outside of the state. Pufendorf (1682) and Vattel (1758) promoted this statist view because it transmutes moral rights into a legal form, which is guarded by the sovereign state. However, when considering external economic and political pressures, this is contentious. For example, despite the freedom of speech allowing Danish cartoonists to publish controversial images of Muhammad in 2003, the Muslim world’s outcry led to first anniversary reprints being banned (Post, 2007). This is an illustration of a sovereign state’s rights not always being secure or free from external pressures. This raises another issue: some states may define themselves as sovereign but also partake in a cosmopolitan community, such as the European Union. Similarly to the Danish freedom of speech being hindered, in this incident so was the European Convention of free speech. Therefore this debate of bounded citizenship not securing rights cannot be answered with a cosmopolitan citizenship alternative, as both suffer the same problem.

The second merit concerns the precision of rights resulting...

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