Models of Citizenship



The concept of citizenship is integral to any understanding of democracy and it is intimately related to rights. Rights have commonly been conceptualized as falling into three categories: civil rights, political rights and socio-economic rights. Controversy abounds concerning this categorization, but as a nomenclature for identifying different types of rights it is a useful tool for describing and understanding rights in the ‘real world’ as it mirrors thinking among political elites and reflects the traditional role of the state in rights’ protection and provision. Following this categorization, civil and political rights affect each individual equally in extent and degree, regardless of circumstances, while social rights impact upon individuals disproportionately, even though they are available to be claimed by all citizens. The role of the state in relation to the former is negative, being required only to uphold and protect them. Social rights, on the other hand, require the state to actively intervene in the lives of its citizens, enhancing and ‘equalizing’ the ability of the less powerful to express their civil and political rights. These enabling rights are thus described as positive rights.


Political Elite Political Identity Level Playing Field Property Possession Participatory Model 
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Copyright information

© Lucy Taylor 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International PoliticsUniversity of WalesAberystwythUSA

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