W02 – What Is Citizenship?
Please collect your Coursepack ($10 at Central Library Forum Co-op) and bring to class. We will use the guidance notes below to read the reading together in class in Week 2 (it’s okay if you’ve already taken a look at it before this – well done!).
Patrick F. McKinlay, ‘Citizenship’ (c-1)
Nb: page numbers below refer to the pages of the reading on the bottom left (e.g. “Page 3 of 24”) not to the course reader (c-) or in-text (bolded) pages.
Understanding the Structure of the Reading
- Read the Introduction (p. 3-4) and Summary (p. 21) word-for-word
- Next, skim the headings (do not read the contents word-for-word) – draw a simple mind map or branch diagram illustrating the structure of the main ideas
Further instructions will be given in class. It is completely fine to not understand everything on the first read, and also to focus more on certain sections and gloss over others – though you should have a sense of the overall structure of the reading.
Key Concepts and Guidance Questions
This section simulates the guidance you will receive in subsequent weeks. To help you through this first reading, the guidance is broken down according to the sections of the reading.
The Ideal of Citizenship: From Antiquity to Postmodernity
- How are Greek (Aristotle) and Roman concepts of citizenship different? (Try drawing a simple table). How do these differences lead to the main modern division in citizenship, Civic Republican/Communitarian vs Liberal concepts of citizenship? (p. 4-6, especially bottom of p. 5/top of p. 6) Try to hold on to the main ideas and not get too worried about any details you don’t fully understand.
- Skip this section!
The Age of Revolutions
- How did kingly authority during medieval times impact how people thought about themselves as citizens? (Clue: it has something to do with being ‘subjects’ instead of ‘citizens’.) (p. 10-11)
- How did Rousseau’s ideas, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution, impact ideas of citizenship after the period of kingly authority? (p. 11-12)
Citizenship, Nationality and Language
- Why did the concept of ‘national identity’ cause a problem for citizenship from the French Revolution until the beginning of the 20th century? (p. 12-13) How did Germany and the U.S. address this problem? (Clue: they did this using quite different approaches)
Contemporary Debates – Social Citizenship
- Social citizenship – we will examine this in detail in Week 5. For now, just find the answer to this question: why examples does Marshall give of (1) rights of ‘the civil element’ i.e. civil rights (2) rights of the ‘political element’ i.e. political rights (3) rights of the ‘social element’ i.e. social rights (quoted paragraph, top of p. 14). How are these ‘classes’ of rights different from each other?
- We will examine the concept of ‘differentiated citizenship’ in detail in Week 7. Consider this for now: do you think that allowing or suppressing cultural identities (e.g. the right of Sikhs to wear turbans as part of their uniform) increases or decreases national identity and national loyalty? (See top of p. 16)
- We will examine these ideas more closely in Week 9. As a preview, (1) give an example of a ‘supranational forms of citizenship’ (p. 16) (2) do you think such forms of citizenship are getting stronger or weaker? (Current and recent news may give you your answers!)
Women and Citizenship
- This theme will resurface throughout the course. For now, try to understand this sentence : “It is not that women were not perceived to exist in the social order, but rather their secondary status was assigned by the political and social order that rested about that status” (p. 17. Note: this sentence is not particularly well-written or well-phrased!). How would you explain what it means to a friend?
What is it to be a Good Citizen?
- Skip this section
- How do the different ideas of citizenship mentioned relate to your own (‘default’) ideas about citizenship before you joined the module? Which aspects do you agree with and which ones do you disagree with?
- Think about Singapore’s National Day and the kinds of messages that we receive. Can you link any of those messages to particular ideas of citizenship in the reading? Where, or in what period of history, did these ideas originally come from? What conditions (concerns) shaped the formation of these ideas?
- What concerns, pressures or challenges do you think Singapore has, regarding citizenship? What is causing these challenges and concerns?