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Active CitizenshipWhat Could it Achieve and How?$
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Bernard Crick and Andrew Lockyer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748638666

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748638666.001.0001

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Active Citizenship for Europe and International Understanding

Active Citizenship for Europe and International Understanding

(p.137) 10 Active Citizenship for Europe and International Understanding
Active Citizenship

Derek Heater

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter considers the role of active citizenship in Europe and other parts of the world. It acknowledges the predisposition to regard the city or nation state as the primary sphere of citizen's rights and responsibilities, but identifies a long-standing tradition of thinking about cosmopolitan citizenship going back to the Stoics and Romans. The commitment to transnational matters ought not to be deleterious to a citizen's other responsibilities, but active citizenship requires institutions through which to act. The chapter argues that it is necessary for active European or world citizens to have effective supranational institutions, and outlines the existing opportunities for citizen engagement at a European Union level and through international organisations. It also explains why transnational active citizenship has been weak in Britain both in terms of party policies and the deficiency of information on international matters in the popular press. However, it takes an ‘idealist’ perspective: the ‘political illiteracy of the multitude’ on European and international affairs is not irremediable.

Keywords:   active citizenship, Europe, supranational institutions, European Union, international organisations, Britain, political illiteracy

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