Citizenship. This word is yet another intriguing concept introduced in our readings. It is also a term that has no specific definition, which is somehow magnificently similar to the other conceptual ideas we have been introduced to thus far. Also, throughout the chapter, it became evident in many ways how citizenship is intertwined with the other ideas we have been discussing in class, including key terms like space, place, the state, boundaries, and territory.


            The modernized idea of citizenship was introduced by T.H. Marshall’s essay that was written in 1950. He claimed there were three aspects of citizenship, consisting of civil rights, political rights, and social rights. Civil rights is linked to the ideas of liberalism and individualism, as mentioned in the beginning of the chapter. Civil rights are put in place in order to protect the freedoms of the individual. In our country, we are blessed that we have these rights put in place so we can express ourselves freely. For example, some of these include the freedom of speech, religion, press, petition, and assembly. These are the ones ones within our constitution that we have been learning about in history class as we have grown up. Political rights are the rights we have that allow us to be involved and eligible to participate in our government of society. The third dimension determines that citizens have a right to certain standards for social and economic well-being.


            This idea of citizenship can become a rather controversial topic when introducing the idea of immigration. The article “Defining the Ordinary,” included the story of Jesus Apodaca and his journey through his years of obtaining an education, where he was eventually thrown under the bus because his citizenship status of being an illegal immigrant. There are always devastating stories that can relate to this one. The whole idea of citizenship that was introduced throughout the chapter really comes into play here. It makes you realize how fortunate we really are to be in a country with so much opportunity. After reading this chapter and article, it really helped me to understand what citizenship really is and also remind me of how fortunate I am to be living in the country I live in. 

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One Response to Citizenship

  1. Jake says:

    Your statement about the freedoms we’re allowed to enjoy because of constitutionally mandated rights stood out to me. On one hand I agree, as the absence of these freedoms would certainly pave the way for tyranny. However, I can’t help but consider the likes of the Red Scare and other periods of modern US history during which certain viewpoints have been considered intolerable and subject to persecution/prosecution because either they cause discomfort for the majority or they challenge the dynamics of power. “Freedom of speech” should clearly allow Communists, Socialists, and other anti-Capitalists to voice their opinions and stand up for what they believe, yet our less-than-absolute system too often allows for convenient “exceptions” to the rule of law. Though ideal standards, constitutions are never concrete. Just another angle to consider.

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