AQA Citizenship AS Level

Notes on Citizenship AS Level

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What is a citizen?


Acting on one's rights and duties to become a fully participating member of society.

Civil rights:

protecting individual freedoms such as the freedom of speech.

Political rights:

political rights are entitlements or permissions usually of a legal or moral nature.The right to stand for office or the right to vote in a general election.

Social rights:

rights made by a group of people to maintain social order within a society. E.g. right to education.

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Citizenship in the modern society

Citizen: Any individual with whatever rights and responsibilities they have where they are living.

Differing views of citizenship: (community Vs individual)

Communitarian -

  • social philosophy suggesting that communities are best placed to decide and define what they think is right and proper.
  • They believe that is should be as much about doing something for others as it is about doing something for yourself.

Individualist -

  • people should look after themselves and put their own interests first
  • individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, or social outlook that stresses independence and self-reliance.
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Rights, duties and being british

Citizen's rights and duties:

  • Legal - Rights: free speech, own property, fair trial Duties: obey the law
  • Social - Rights: health care, education Duties: pay taxes, treat others as you would like to be treated
  • Political - Rights: vote, stand in election Duties: vote, participate

What does being British mean?

  • Becoming a British citizen - the citizenship test and ceremonies
  • Living in the UK
  • The nature of British identity
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Why do people move to the UK?

Main reasons for moving to the UK are:

  • Economic migration
    • UK has a large economy
    • more job opportunities
    • main source of economic migration to the UK has been the European Union
  • Refugees and Asylum seekers
    • a refugee is a person who flees to a foreign country to escape danger or persecution
    • if they wish to remain in the UK they have to apply for asylum
    • wars are a main source of refugees
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Social diversity

In Britain 86% of the population is white British origin, with no other group comprising more than 2%.

Segregation: the separation of different groups in society in their daily lives.

Assimilation: the process where a minority group gradually adopts the customs and culture of the largest group in society.

Integration: where groups traditionally excluded from society are able to move into the mainstream of society, gaining rights and privileges that they would of been excluded form before.

Stereotyping: a stereotype is a phrase relating to a group of people, the term is often used in a negative way when referring to an exaggerated assumption that a person possesses certain characteristics associated with a group they belong to.

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Prejudice and discrimination


The word prejudice refers to prejudgment: making a decision before becoming aware of relevant facts of a case or event. Basis of prejudice are: sexism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia.


Discrimination toward or against a person or group is the prejudicial treatment of them based on certain characteristics. It can be positive behavior directed towards a certain group, or negative behavior directed against a certain group.

Examples are - Antilocution, Bullying, Physical abuse and Genocide.

Institutional racism - racist activity that is not the product of individuals, but the product of the structure of society.

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Life chances

Life chances:

Being born in poverty affects everything from your chances of getting a job, to the age you are expected to live to.

Life chances can go up or down due to:

  • education
  • health
  • employment
  • income

Life chances can be different due to:

  • gender
  • class
  • age
  • disability
  • sexuality
  • ethnicity
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Absolute poverty:

This is when an individual lacks basic resources to maintain an adequate diet, accommodation and clothing which leads to deterioration of health.

Relative poverty:

This is a type of poverty where an individual will possess the basics and so not necessarily have health risks. They would not have the means to take part in society through lack of resources E.g. buying a TV.

Budget standards:

A method that the government uses in order to calculate the basic rate of benefits.

Theoretical approaches to the causes of poverty:

  • individual and cultural explanations
  • structural explanations
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The causes of poverty

Pathological explanations:

  • individualistic explanations - poor people are are assumed to be inadequate
  • familial - poverty is believed to run in families
  • sub-cultural views - the 'culture of poverty' suggests that poor people learn to be different, and 'adapt' to poverty.

Structural explanations:

  • class-based explanations - poverty is the result of some peoples marginality in relation to the process of economic production
  • 'agency' views - poverty is attributed to the failures of public services.
  • inequality - poverty is attributed to inequalities in the structure of society, which lead to denial of opportunity and perpetuation of disadvantage.
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How can discrimination and diasdvantage be reduced

  • Policy making
  • Legislation - laws to protect the rights of individuals, social groups and the state
  • Government commission to investigate issues of equality and Human Rights
  • Government organisations must follow a policy on equality
  • Private business are given awards for good practice, which encourages workers, attracts prospective employees, and wins costumer satisfaction.
  • Anti-discrimination policies in relation to gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual preference, social class and age.
  • Dealing with direct and indirect discrimination.
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Anti-discrimination legislation

  • Gender - equal pay act 1970
  • Sex discrimination act 1975
  • Gender equality duty 2007
  • Disability - disability discrimination act 1995
  • Ethnicity - race relations act 1976 and 200 amendment
  • Sexual orientation - equality act 2006
  • Age - the employment equality (age) regulations 2006
  • Human rights act 1998
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Human rights

Some rights and freedoms we all have:

  • the right to life
  • freedom from torture
  • freedom from slavery
  • the right to a fair trial
  • freedom of religion
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom from discrimination

Some children's rights:

there are also special provisions and protections for children detailed in the 1989 Convention on the rights of the child (CRC)

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Civil and criminal law

Civil law deals with individual wrongs whereas criminal law deals with wrongs against society. Sentences are:

  • Absolute discharge
  • Conditional discharge
  • Binding over
  • Fine
  • Compensation order
  • Community sentence
  • Combination orders
  • Custodial sentence
  • Detention and training order
  • Exclusion order
  • Deferred sentence
  • Secure training order
  • Secure remands
  • Curfew orders
  • Electronic monitoring
  • Binding over parents
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Magistrates court

  • usually made up of 3 local people (aged 21-60 but most are around 40)
  • balance of age, ethnicity ans race
  • must have a mature outlook
  • unpaid but give up 26 days a year for their service
  • can take time off their daily job but don't get paid for it
  • no professional legal experience
  • known as lay magistrates or Justice of Peace (JP)
  • hear 95% of criminal cases
  • decided on civil cases (mainly family cases)
  • appointed by advisory panels in each area
  • when sentencing they are advised by a court clerk on law and procedure
  • sometimes stipendiary judges take the place of JPs instead (they are legally qualified and paid, they tend to deal with more complicated cases)
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Restorative Justice

Is a process whereby:

All the parties with a stake in a particular conflict or offence come together to resolve collectively how to deal with the aftermath of the conflict or offence and it's implications for the future.

Offenders have the opportunity to acknowledge the impact of what they have done and to make reparation, and victims have the opportunity to have their harm or loss acknowledged and amends made.

  • gives victims a chance to tell offenders the impact of their actions on their lives, to get answers to their questions and to get an apology.
  • holds offenders directly personally accountable for their actions
  • approach is also used outside the law (in schools and the workplace)
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Legal representation:

citizens with a legal problem need advice as to whether they have a good chance of success in redress

Access to the law:

Some people don't peruse legal action because -

  • they don't understand the law and may not be fully aware of their rights
  • they fear legal action may be costly (main reason)
  • they find it tough to get time off to source a solicitor

In recent years more has been done to make access to the law fairer -

  • advertising by legal firms
  • opportunities to benefit from free or cheap advice
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Legal professions

Lawyers are people who have studies and practiced law. They are divided into two groups of barristers and solicitors who specialise in civil or criminal cases.


  • most barristers are self employed and make their money from advocacy
  • in higher courts they provide specialist opinions on complex matters of law
  • they usually act on instruction from solicitors and have little or no direct contact with members of the public.


  • most judges are appointed from the ranks of barristers
  • they are accused of being too upper middle class
  • they are members of the bar
  • they are portrayed as being removed or out of tough with society
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Legal professions continued


  • When members of the public need legal advice they contact a solicitor.
  • they work for multinational firms but most work for small high street private practices
  • they also work for the civil service
  • most are general practitioners and provide advice on a range of matters
  • some are specialists in a specific area such as conveyancing, probate or divorce

A solicitor's tasks involve -

  • writing letters for clients, making calls, writing contracts, writing wills, and other advice
  • most of their work is done before the case goes to trial
  • they represent their clients in lower courts
  • but since 1990 they have been able to also work in the higher courts
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Funding civil and criminal disputes

Whether you can get help depends on your income.

other factors whether you get assistance:

  • the importance of the matter to the person and the benefit to be gain from the person
  • the availability of resources of funding
  • the chance of success
  • public interest
  • the need to operate within the fixed budget of the Community Legal Service Fund

Alternatives to the Community Legal Service are available to people who don't qualify for this funding:

  • the Law Society has an accident help line that deals with the personal injury claims and operates on a conditional fee scheme
  • young barristers that work on a pro bono basis - free
  • some people take out legal insurance. Premium costs are recoverable from the other party or by winning the case.
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Alternative dispute resolution

Mediation: Information process where the parties are brought together in surrounding less confrontational than a court to reach a solution.


Similar to meditation. Can be used to resolve disputes between neighbours and employers and employees. It is a widely respected and unbiased approach using specialist skills.


The process is handled by an expert in their field, each side has a chance to air their side of the argument. It informally handles the situation in a way that does not damage the relationship between the 2 parties. It is used in cases like unsatisfactory dry cleaning or dissatisfaction of service received from a travel agent.

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Alternative dispute resolution continued


  • are like court hearing but much more informal
  • resolve issues quickly and therefore cost less than court hearings
  • maybe domestic or administrative
  • domestic tribunals operate within a specific industry or profession. all tribunal have powers to fine, suspended disbar those within their professions who break the rules of their profession.
  • administrative tribunals are concerned with resolving disputed between individuals and the state in cases of administrative law; areas they cover include education, housing, immigration, insurance and pensions.
  • tribunals are made up of a chairman with legal qualifications and 2 lay members of the public with relevant experience and interests, they are independent.
  • they tend to have greater expertise than normal courts


  • Trained in dealing with certain types of disputes
  • normally concerned with issues of maladministration
  • they deal with matters concerned with the abuse of power by the government
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This is good.

I hate revising for citz, cuz i dnt gt it

but this has made it reli asy and simpl to unestand

Thanks =)

Former Member


this made citizenship easier to revise :)

Darshan Dixit


Thank you VERY much. =)



Thank you :)



Thank you! :)

Molly Morris


thankyou so much! life saver!

zahoor m


This is a brilliant resource. Do you happen to have any notes for Unit 2?



thank you 



really easy and simple to understand



Great Help for revising 

Heavy D 1


Correct H-Dog



This is great!



Hi I am doing A2 Citizenship. Does anyone know which CIST information it is and if it covers the whole CIST revision? Thank you

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