Thursday, March 17, 2011

Research Paper on Citizenship

Research Paper on Citizenship

Citizenship can provide people with an identity and connection to place. What constitutes legal citizenship? And does identity or place matter to this question?

Citizenship symbolizes unity as a nation. It represents commitment to a country and its people, the values they share and the common future. It symbolizes the sense of belonging to the country of birth or where the decision has been made to make a home. ( In this essay I will define legal citizenship and argue that in current times citizenship provides identity and connection to place but that issues of identity and place have become blurred in the current world of globalization.

Citizenship is a legally defining way of looking at membership of a state, the state decides who their citizens will be, they pass laws and hand out rights and obligations, giving the ‘right to have rights’ to people within that state. With those rights come responsibilities and duties than individuals must agree to abide by in order to comply with their citizenship.


The department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs ( explains that becoming a citizen formalizes your membership of a particular countries community. It entitles an individual to the same rights as other citizens. It is an important way to formalize a commitment to a country and share in its future. It also carried substantive legal rights, such as the right to vote in elections, stand for Parliament, work in public service, or serve in armed forces. Citizenship also entitles the individual to hold a passport, which allows re-entry to the country if traveling overseas. There is also the right to have any children registered as citizens by descent if they’re born overseas.

So in looking at the question of how citizenship provides people with an identity and connection to place I refer to the article ‘Against Paranotid Nationalism: Search for Hope in a Shrinking Society, (Hage (2003). Hage states:

‘In some ways all nationalism, by their very nature, invites a defensive posture. What’s a nation without borders to defend? And a nationalist might well self-destruct without the noble mission of defending the nation from some internal or external threat. However, the fostering of hope and its defense has irreconcilable and contradictory sides, despite the necessity of both and their complementarity. At the border we do the things that we have to do to protect our society and this might involve doing things that we might not like to see being done inside our society.’

So it can be said then that citizenship does provide people with and identity, the identity of the country and the identity of being the same as the rest of their country and with the defending of borders to that country a sense of place is given to that citizen. The place being the country or state in which they will defend.

As seen in Hage (2003)
‘The imaginaries of the motherland and the fatherland can only be distinguished analytically as they are present together dialogically in all the nationalist discourses and the practices in which they are enmeshed. As Cohen indicates, the nation as ‘the mother’s breast’ cannot exist without the nations as an ordered space with secure borders. The nation as community, home, or motherland without a fatherland to order it and protect it would not be a very satisfying nation to belong to. As Zygmut Bauman points out:

The ‘we’ made of inclusion, acceptance and confirmation is the realm of gratifying safety cut out (though never securely enough) from the frightening wilderness of the outside populated by ‘them’. The safety would not be felt unless the ‘we’ were trusted to possess the binding power of acceptance and the strength to protect those already accepted. Identity is experienced as secure if the powers that have certified it seem to prevail over the enemies construed in the process of their self-assertion. ‘We’ must be powerful, or it won’t be gratifying. There is little pleasure in being included if – as Heine once remarked on one of the less effective protective walls, those of an ethnic ghetto – ‘cowardice guards the gates from the inside, and stupidity from the outside.’

Citizenship of a nation can provide people with the safety and security and therefore sense of belonging and identity as does a father and mother within a family. The father is often seen as the provider of security and protection of the family unit from the external boundaries of the family home and the mother provides the nurture, love and care needed on the inside of the family.

So if we take the example of Australian citizenship, we as fellow Australians have a connection to place and identity through our sense of security of our nations borders, secured by our government and armed forces that are given to us as our rights as citizens of the Australian nation, promised to us by our state.

But in direct opposition to the connection of citizenship to identity and place can be seen in (Hage (2003) where he discussed the imaginary of paranoid nationalism. He states:

‘There is a sense in which all nationalisms are inherently defensive. This is especially so when we keep in mind that the images of the motherland and the fatherland are always fantasies whose ideals are destined never to be reached. In the nationalist imaginary there is always an otherness, the form of persons (such as asylum seekers, migrants, criminals, or youth) or situations (such as economic crisis or bad government) and such ‘national threats and viruses’ are always at hand: either within the national body (can we trust our youth, can we trust the present generation, can we trust the migrants to fight for this country?) or outside it (the terrorists are coming, so are all the asylum seekers of the world).

Conversely, (Turner (2001) explains the erosion of citizenship as being caused by:
‘The Marshallian paradigm of social citizenship has been eroded because the social and economic conditions that supported postwar British welfare consensus have been transformed by economic and technological change. With the erosion of national citizenship, Marshall’s three forms of rights (legal, political and social) have been augmented by rights that are global, namely environmental, aboriginal and cultural rights. These are driven by global concerns about the relationship between environment, community and body such that the quest for social security has been replaced by concerns for ontological security.

The Marshallian framework has been eroded because economic changes, technological innovation and globalization have transformed the nature of work, war and social relations of reproduction. The three routes to effective citizenship no longer provide a firm socio-economic framework within which social rights can be enjoyed.

The social rights of nation-states are being slowly replaced or, better still, augmented by human rights. First, these new forms of citizenship are not specifically located within the nation-state, and are typically connected with human rights legislations rather than with civic rights. This set of human rights has evolved for two basic reasons. The problems of the global order, such as the global spread of AIDS or the pollution of the environment, cannot be solved by the unilateral action of individual governments, and secondly because the social risks of modern society that are created by new technologies (such as cloning or genetically modified food) do not fit easily into the existing politico-legal framework.’

It can be seen here from this information that whilst an individuals identity and place can be met by citizenship, globalization has caused deeper reflection into the exploration of global governance and how it could be feasible and desirable certainly for the global issues we now find ourselves solving. In the article ‘The decline of Citizenship in an Era of Globalization.’ (Falk (2000), it states:

‘The essential argument is that economic globalization is weakening territorial ties between people and the state in a variety of ways that are shifting the locus of political identities, especially of elites, in such a manner as to diminish the relevance of international frontiers, thereby eroding, if not altogether undermining, the foundation of traditional citizenship. In keeping with the postmodern mood, it has become fashionable in certain circles to talk grandly these days of being ‘a global citizen’ a netizen and the like.’

Falk also goes on to state ‘Such deterritorializing of citizenship seems presently, and for the foreseeable future, to reflect exceedingly ‘thin’ sentiments (either superficial and utopian or real, as with ardent Internet surfers, but engaging only a tiny fragment of society) as compared to the still ‘thick’ affinities that bind the overwhelming majority of generally patriotic citizens to their state and its flag. These are ties of loyalty unto death, if such an ultimate sacrifice is perceived as necessary for the defense of the realm.’

In conclusion citizenship does give a sense of identity and strong links to place but there are more issues to belonging than having citizenship. Individuals can have citizenship without feeling as if they belong. Globalization has changed our sense of identity and the emphasis is shifting from place to an emphasis on global belonging. Citizenship remains a strong link for the individual’s sense of identity and place.

Warning!!! All free online research papers, research paper samples and example research papers on Citizenship topics are plagiarized and cannot be fully used in your high school, college or university education.

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