This chapter introduces the concept of citizen and briefly discusses its various interpretations. It suggests that the differences among systems of government notwithstanding, the role of citizens remains always problematic because it evolves together with the community in which citizens enact their political selves. To clarify the point, the chapter examines Michael Schudson’s The Good Citizen—A History of American Civic Life (2000) and his concept of the monitorial citizen. Schudson’s work and his monitorial citizens are pivotal for the networked citizen ideal discussed in the following chapters.
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