This weeks reading takes on a different approach the the previous readings. While the articles on power, place, territory, and the state were ambiguous, the reading on citizenship, elections, and democracy seem to take on a more concrete perspective.
It starts with first developing the idea of the individual and the importance of each individual’s own freedom. It all started with the enlightenment period, when old religious ideas went out the window and the importance of self-understanding were significant. This idea of individualism eventually lead to liberalism. My interpretation of liberalism was where the individual has the ultimate say in it’s own decisions. Although, government representation is important, individual freedom is the most important as Long as it does not hinder others’ freedoms.
This sense of individualism an liberalism has lead to the idea of democracy. Before I read this chapter, I viewed democracy as the peoples government! That we have the say in how we get ruled, we have a major say in our government. In the chapter it then goes on to state two major components of democracy: citizenship and elections. In my opinion I think these two components exemplify the idea of democracy. Our ability to elect our own officials is key to the success of a democratic state. And the idea of gaining citizenship is necessary to participate in a democratic state. To even take a part of a democratic state, one must be a citizen of that state. I feel like this kind of takes away from the idea previously mentioned about individualism. Why must one be a citizen if try do not want to? This can also link to the previous discussions about state and sovereignty. We are not fully sovereign but are still influenced by many outside and hierarchical sources aka the state.
One major thing I took from the idea of citizenship is the difference between de jure citizen: citizenship by law and de facto citizen: citizenship by practice. One citizen may meet all the requirements by law to become a citizen but they may not take part in the civic life an vice versa. When I read this for some reason I thought about the movie Starship Troopers, where they talk about the difference between a citizen and a civilian. A citizen is someone who is involved in the government and performs for their state’ whereas a civilian is just someone that lives within the state but has no ties to the government. This is how I perceived the difference of the two citizenships.
The last topic discussed was the importance of elections. I feel it combines the importance of citizenship and the success of democracy as well as demonstrates ones individualism to choose their own decision. Elections are the defining feature of a democracy. without elections, there would be no democratic state. Not only does it support the concept of democracy but it also adds in the concept of liberalism and individualism. All three concepts are vital for the success of a democratic state.
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