Citizenship: European and Global
GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP: A CRITICAL READER, pp: 71-83, Nigel Dower and John Williams, eds., Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2002
26 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2011
Date Written: 2002
Talk of citizenship beyond state borders is not new. To the contrary, we find competing conceptions already in ancient Greek and Roman political thought. When asked which was his country, Socrates insisted that he was a citizen of the world, rather than an Athenian or a Corinthian. Likewise, when asked where he came from, Diogenes answered that “I am a citizen of the world”. Their notion of citizenship beyond the city-state did not include any legal rights beyond borders. In contrast, Athenian citizens – that privileged set of free men -- enjoyed active rights to political participation. Yet for Socrates and Diogenes, citizenship of the world seemed to replace traditional citizenship rights and duties. In comparison, the Roman Empire recognized and even encouraged dual citizenship, with loyalty both to the local community and to Rome. This arrangement allowed citizens of Rome freedom of movement and trade within the Empire. Still, the Roman notion of dual citizenship had its drawbacks, both for the individual and for the political order. To be a citizen of Rome usually only provided status or passive citizenship in the form of protection, rather than active citizenship rights to political participation enjoyed only by the patrician class. Dual citizenship also created dual loyalties in the populations of the Empire, causing unresolved conflicts (Toynbee 1970, Clarke 1994).European Union Citizenship is closer to this Roman practice than to the Greek vision of cross-border citizenship – for better and worse. Union citizenship carries clear legal implications fostering freedom of movement and trade, and is intended to supplement, rather than to replace, national citizenship. Dual citizenship also means that the European Union must come to grips with challenges of institutionalisation and multiple loyalties. Reflection on the roles and challenges of Union citizenship may teach lessons for global citizenship. Both forms of citizenship create aspirations to a democratic political order with a scope beyond existing states, and face challenges regarding institutions and political culture aspiring to treat all affected individuals as equals. Section A provides a brief overview of the content of Union Citizenship. Section B discusses the need for trust among individuals creating and sharing European-level institutions. Section C explores how trust can be secured by Union citizenship based on shared commitments rather than on common history and broader culture. Section D draws lessons for the roles and preconditions of global citizenship.
Keywords: citizenship, europe, EU, political theory, global
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