Essay about A Discourse Theory of Citizenship

1189 Words Dec 11th, 2011 5 Pages
A Discourse Theory of Citizenship

This article discusses the concept of citizenship and how citizenship as a form of public engagement is crucial to democracy as a whole. The author, Robert Asen, presents a new view that citizenship is a dynamic mode of public engagement. The first section of the article discusses questions about public beliefs and perspectives. The second section of the article discusses how citizenship is a mode of public engagement. The third section discusses how public engagement must be examined and what can be learned from that analysis. The final section discusses how the concept of citizenship can be extended through the author’s Discourse Theory.
The first part of the article begins by explaining how
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It is a way of getting involved with the world around you. Citizenship is a process of dealing with the world that influences the views and beliefs of the public. It does not have to come from only voting; it exists in multiple modes. Some of these modes include consumer choices, work habits, and volunteer work. These sorts of actions could be more important than voting alone. This is because voting does not show your views in great personal detail and therefore does not always help advance your personal beliefs into public discussion. Voting only ascribes your views to one of two general view sets, which most people do not generally agree with completely. The other forms of citizenship, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen, can more accurately represent your views and ideas of how the world ought to be run. This is because the public sees how you are acting to directly make a change in society and may decide to join you in your cause. As the article says, “ Democracy’s heart does not beat in the halls of Congress or in the voting booth, but in everyday enactments of citizenship” (Asen, 197).
The important communication concept that can be taken from this section, is that the power of democracy rests on normal people and not on elected officials or bureaucrats. This makes it extremely important that one’s views are expressed both in public discourse and in the way one lives their life.

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