Citizenship & More

Citizenship is yet another concept that intertwines perfectly with all the others we have talked about in class so far. The State would not exist without the citizen, territorial boundaries are established not just by the state they are also maintained by the citizen. Basically the citizen is one of the most integral components of what we have talked about in class so far. According to the Painter and Jeffrey textbook reading citizenship is in many ways a result of classic liberalism. Liberalism was the political belief in freedom of speech, expression and commerce. The authors note that liberalism gave rise to democracy, and the Western view of citizenship. I found one of the most interesting parts of the text reading to be about “Spaces of Citizenship”, growing up in the S. Suburbs of Chicago I was able to view the formal and informal views of citizenship first hand. Though all citizens are entitled to certain rights under our Constitution (formal) in actuality certain groups get treated differently. African Americans where I used to live often got different penalties for a crime, then a White citizen. Broadening this view, you could say that we are given the right to freedom of speech (formal) but often the police or government officials will try to suppress citizens who hold unorthodox views (informal).

The example I just used about the informal view on citizenship could be views as “Insurgent Citizenship” which is another important part of the text reading. This idea of insurgency is really quite fascinating because it is essentially the state vs. the citizen. When citizens stand up against the government, they become insurgents. I found it interesting how the authors noted that often times the media will look down on these groups if they act against societies norms. I can’t help but wonder if “The State” is exerting control on the media, that is a tangent that I might leave for class discussion tomorrow. I also like how this chapter addressed the idea of, for lack of a better word, transnational citizenship. It brought up the EU and UN, both entities we have already discussed in depth during our class time.

Moving on from citizenship, I would also like to touch briefly on elections and voting. Voting is essentially a popularity contest, a more technical term is a “pluralist democratic governance”.  It gives statisticians the opportunity to understand how a country is changing politically and it also shapes the policy within the region. The authors bring up the electoral college is innately Geographical, with each state controlling a share of power (yes power, again) that helps elect a president. Looking at the maps provided by the text shows very obvious spatial patterns and it really brings together concepts we have talked about in class with the new concepts of the chapter. Place, territory, power, and citizens all mold together to help elect a new leader. It’s actually more fascinating then I have thought in the past.

The article was also an interesting read, here we have a man named Jesus. He was a good student and a seemingly average U.S. resident. The problem was, he was just that, a resident and not a citizen. The article basically talks about how some States have restricted immigrants rights, while others have been supportive of immigrants. It also engages the idea of community, and cyber-communities. This can all go back to insurgent citizenship, because cyber-communities often can help form coalitions that might butt heads with the state. Hopefully we can touch on some of these concepts in class tomorrow. Goodnight.

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