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Citizenship

The usual definitions, strictly legal*, can be widened, where peace is the objective, to include the notion of conscious individual responsability: "Conscious belonging to the social, local and world community as free beings that are responsible and interconnected" (Thomas d’Ansembourg, 2008).

*Legal type definitions:

 

"Legal quality that guarantees public freedom and voting rights to its holder (except for women in those countries where this last right is not given)".

Source: Grand dictionnaire terminologique, Office québécois de la langue française.

 

In anglosaxon countries, there is an additional legal notion, that of the responsibility towrds the State (usually allegiance to the State, payment of taxes and military service) in exchange for the protection of its citizens inside and abroad, voting rights and eligibility.

Source: according to the Encyclopedia Britannica

 

In the area of education:

One now distinguishes between the narrow and the wide definition of citizenship, expressing a difference between civics education and citizenship education.

As an example, the Australian government writes the following on its website:

"Minimal interpretations lead to narrow, formal approaches to citizenship education - what has been termed civics education. This is largely content-led and knowledge-based. It is centred on formal education programmes which concentrate on the transmission to students of knowledge of a country’s history and geography, of the structure and processes of its system of government and of its constitution. The primary purpose is to inform through the provision and transmission of information. It lends itself to didactic teaching and learning approaches, with teacher-led, whole-class teaching as the dominant medium. There is little opportunity or encouragement for student interaction and initiative. (...)

Maximal interpretations are characterised by a broad definition of citizenship. They seek to actively include and involve all groups and interests in society. Maximal interpretations lead to a broad mixture of formal and informal approaches to what has been termed citizenship education, as opposed to narrower civics education.

This citizenship education includes the content and knowledge components of minimal interpretations, but actively encourages investigation and interpretation of the many different ways in which these components (including the rights and responsibilities of citizens) are determined and carried out. The primary aim is not only to inform, but also to use that information to help students to understand and to enhance their capacity to participate. It is as much about the content as about the process of teaching and learning. It lends itself to a broad mixture of teaching and learning approaches, from the didactic to the interactive, both inside and outside the classroom. Structured opportunities are created for student interaction through discussion and debate, and encouragement is given to students to use their initiative through project work, other forms of independent learning and participative experiences."

 

Source: Statements of Learning for Civics and Citizenship, p.2, 2006, Australian Government website. http://www.curriculum.edu.au/cce/national_statements_of_learning,8990.htm