Citizenship in Britain

Citizenship in Britain: A History

Derek Heater
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Citizenship in Britain
    Book Description:

    An historical introduction to the varieties of citizenship in Britain, starting in the Middle Ages and bringing the story right up to the present day.Both the status and understanding of citizenship in practice and the theoretical and advisory writings on the subject are introduced, and their inter-relationships are explored. Among the key themes to be examined are:• local and national strata• the issue of parliamentary suffrage• women excluded and included as citizens• the influence of classical ideas• nationhood and imperialism• the role of political and social theorists• interpretations by modern political parties• the role of education• environmental citizenship• multiculturalism• globalisation• human rightsOrganised chronologically, each chapter is divided into sections in order to present the reader with different themes in a manageable form. The focus throughout is on accessibility, with no previous knowledge of the subject being assumed.Key Features* Unique in its historical coverage of citizenship in Britain - moving from the Middle Ages to the present day* Reveals the great complexity of the development of citizenship in Britain* Leading campaigners, politicians and theorists enliven the story and analysis* Demonstrates the importance of an historical perspective in understanding the issue of citizenship in Britain today

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-2672-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Derek Heater
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-3)

    The topic of citizenship has never before commanded so much interest, controversy and concern in Britain. The issues of immigration, cultural differences, the balance of citizens’ rights and security, the citizen’s duty of loyalty, devolution, citizenship of the European Union and the role of schools in providing the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes are being constantly debated. Chapter 7 brings the reader up to date (at the time of writing) on these pressing matters. However, the purpose of this book is not to focus on the present but to provide a broad historical picture – for its own sake and...

  5. Chapter 1 Early constitutional and humanist themes
    (pp. 4-29)

    The title of ‘citizen’ was first conferred on the inhabitants of Britain by the Romans. However, the word was ‘civis’ and the status was that of the Roman citizenship, not British. A parallel today would be if Britons held the status of citizens of the European Union but had no comparable national citizenship. Britain became a Roman province in ad 43 following the invasion by the Emperor Claudius. Furthermore, he resumed the lapsed policy of extending the grants of citizenship to the provinces, though not as generously as has often been suggested. In Britain only Verulanium (St Albans) was accorded...

  6. Chapter 2 The efflorescence of political thinking
    (pp. 30-65)

    The half-century from 1640 to 1690 – that is, from the collapse of effective censorship to the publication of John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government – was a period of unprecedented political consciousness and flow of political publications in England. Not until the century c. 1760–1860 – from John Wilkes to John Stuart Mill – was there to be a comparable period of such intense and publicised political thinking (see Chapters 3 and 4). The surge of pamphlet and newspaper output in those seventeenth-century decades may be indicated by the following figures. There were no newspapers in 1640;...

  7. Chapter 3 Fighting corruption and France
    (pp. 66-98)

    If there was one word in the vocabulary of the classical concept of citizenship that was indispensable to its meaning it is that which is translated into English as ‘(civic) virtue’. In Aristotle’s Greek this was aretē, in Cicero’s Latin, virtus, in Machiavelli’s Italian, virtù, and in Rousseau’s French, vertu. True, the nuances of these words varied according to who used the word, so rich has it been in its understood elements. None the less, its essence is clear: the citizen is expected earnestly to feel a firm commitment to his polity and willingly to perform his civic duties. Now,...

  8. Chapter 4 Two generations of progress
    (pp. 99-133)

    By the end of the eighteenth century there was little to show for the efforts of the writers on civic virtue or the radical movement. ‘Who now reads Bolingbroke? Who ever read him through? Ask the booksellers of London,’ wrote Burke in his Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790 (Burke, 1982, p. 186). And as to the reformist radicals, for all their literary, organisational and vocal activity, they had not achieved very much when that movement subsided after the striking events of the mid-1790s. Nevertheless, both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary demand for reform were regenerated after the Napoleonic Wars...

  9. Chapter 5 Two issues of status
    (pp. 134-165)

    Citizenship was a status designed by men for men. In ancient Athens men voted, men served in the Assembly, on juries and in the army. And so it occurred, when the classical concept of citizenship was revived in the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras, that this male tradition was accepted. Moreover, as we have seen in earlier chapters, central to the civic concept was the quality of virtue, with its overtones of masculinity, a word derived from the Latin ‘vir’, man. Britain was a male-dominated society for other, deeper reasons. Christianity was prejudiced against women, towns were effectively controlled by the...

  10. Chapter 6 Focus on social citizenship
    (pp. 166-205)

    Legislative activity by Liberal governments in the early years of the twentieth century is indicative of an adaptation of that party’s doctrine. Just as the major diversion of policy by the Labour Party at the end of that century necessitated the neologism ‘New Labour’, so, in the period we are now studying, it was felt helpful (and honest?) to use the term ‘New Liberalism’. New Liberalism meant an acceptance of the need for more state intervention to ameliorate the social conditions of squalor and poverty that the laissez-faire philosophy of classical Liberalism left relatively untended. The adjustment was not an...

  11. Chapter 7 Citizenship as a key concept
    (pp. 206-245)

    The creation of the Welfare State, which consolidated social rights as, for all intents and purposes, an indisputable element of British citizenship, was in large measure the achievement of the Labour Party brought to power in 1945. There was some uncertainty about whether the Conservatives would support these reforms, might even dismantle them when they came into office. After all, state intervention in the private, family sphere of life was questionable policy in the minds of many members of that Party, for both doctrinal and fiscal reasons. However, as we have seen in Chapter 6, during the war, while deeply...

  12. References
    (pp. 246-255)
  13. Index
    (pp. 256-263)