What is a citizen, and what does it mean to be British?

What is a citizen, and what does it mean to be British?


What is a citizen?

Citizenship - an individual's legal membership of state that grants them specific rights (eg. vote, protection, freedom of speech, benefits) and imposes obligations/duties (eg. obey laws, respect others rights, jury service).

State - an organisation possessing political power, enabling it to enforce rules that are binding to the people living in a given territory.

Rights - legal/moral entitlements that allow people to act/be treated in a certain way.

Values - the beliefs, principles or accepted standards of invididuals/social groups.

Active Citizenship - belief that those who have done well in life have a moral duty to be active, participating members of their community, volunteering tohelp others.

Subjects - people under the domination of a monarch or government, but aregranted no rights. (eg. UK citizens are technically subject to the authority of the queen, though few British people would regard themselves so).

Passport - available for all citizens. Individuals may be a citizen of more than one country and hold more thanone passport.

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Views of Citizenship.

New Labour - recognises that generous benefits are costly to the taxpayer, but still favour support for social and economic rights, ie. The Human Rights Act (1998). However, it has placed more emphasis on duties, and has been much influenced by communitarian thinking.

Communitarian -  view of citizenship that is critical of individualism and instead stresses the importance of community interests and values. (New Labour - political left)

Individualism - view of citizenship that stress the importance of the individual freedom. (Liberal Democracies - political right)

The Human Rights Act (1998) - a measure introduced by the Labour government in the UK to set our a series of individual rights.

Social Citizenship - view that citizenship implies social rights tha guarentee an individual a minimum social statues (eg. positive rights - providing the individual to live the life of a civilised being).

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Case Study

Athenian Democracy - flourished for a few centuries BC, where all those acknowledged as citizens were expected to be active (eg. attend civic meetings, take part in debate and vote). This reminds us of the need for citizens to undestand and be active within the democracy in which they live.

Crick Report - discerned three elements of citizenship - education in parliamentary democracy, social and moral democracy and community involvement and recommended a programme to empower citizens, particularly young people, to 'participate effectively in society'.

Active Citizenship - Exeter Community Service Volunteers managed to help one young Polish graduate out of factory work and into paid community devolopment, through networking with the coutry council.

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What does it mean to be British?

Nationality - being a citizen of state by birth or naturalisation

Naturalised - the application process by which people become British either after six years residence in the UK or three years of marriage to a Britishcitizen. They also have to pass a citizen test.

European Union  - there is no barrier to prevent residents of one member country from living and working in another.
British people have become citizens of the European Union,although a mojority do not consider themselves to be so.

Migrants - Jobs will be advertised for at least two weeks to British jobsesskers who have priority before a non-EU migrant can be recruited (unless shortage occupation). They also have to show thatthey are competant in English to a basic-user standard.

Great Britian - England, Scotland and Wales. UK - Great Britian and Northern Irelant.
Englishness - cricket, tea, being uptighnt about ones emotions. Britishness - the common culture and national identity of the people of the United Kingdom. (The most British thing of all - suspician of anything foreign.Yet everything we use and drive is foreign.)

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Tony Blair - blood does not define our identity, Britian has been shaped by a rich mix of different ethnicand religious origins.

Basic identity - infomation on passport(eg.name and gender)

Wider identity - the way we see ourselves and others see us (eg. social class and disability)

Individual identity - the kind of people we are and how we see ourselves.

Identity and citizenship  - are prone to be under threat (eg. 9/11 bombings)

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Factors of Identity

Identity is influenced by - the socialisation process (primary socialisation-familiar with culture, secondary socialisation-mainly be school and how to behave, adult socialisation-whenindividuals get married/have a family).

Identities are not necessarily fixed- (eg. social class may be changed or trans-sexuals deliberately change identity).

Age is considered an important element of identity. However, it is not fixed, as people move through different stages of life.

Gender - was traditionally a key determinant of identity, but today gender stero-types (eg. male breadwinner and women looking after children) are rarely existant.

Ethnicity - although contested against multiculturalism, the UK is definately a multicultural society.

Social class
- identity is determined by occupation, background, income and wealth. Social mobility - where people climb or fall in the social class ladder (eg. dad-doctor to son-bus driver) can cause change in identity. Life chances - are effected by the class you come from.

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the whole websites good..



Good resource for providing the basic details for this topic to help you remember the key aspects. Some spelling errors but overall quite good.

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