A (Re)View of the Notions of Citizen and Citizenship in the Athens of Aristotle

‘Goke Akinboye

Abstract


The notions of citizen and citizenship have been understood in different senses. When Barrack Obama was campaigning for his presidential election some years back, many conservatives peddled conflicting stories about his US citizenship. Some of the stories alleged that: his birth certificate was forged, he had dual citizenship in both the US and Britain and his country of birth was either Kenya or Indonesia, not Honolulu in Hawaii where he was actually born. Thus citizenship today denotes a link between a person and his state of birth with the rights to work, trade, reside and participate in the civic life of the community.
Compared with the ancient world, citizenship, with regard to the state, conveyed deeper meaning. The ancient Greeks believed that the state is a creature of nature. By nature, man himself is a political animal, only capable of relating to humanity through his rights to participate in the affairs of the state. The state is a multifaceted entity, made up of citizens. Therefore, without the citizens, there is no state and without the state, no citizens. It then follows that the extent to which a state is good is proportional to the nature of its citizens and vice versa. For the Greeks, like Aristotle, the city-state should be the only proper setting for man’s greatest good (summum bonum).
In view of the above and in the face contemporary realities in African states, it becomes imperative to look again at the roots of citizenship in order to understand both its historical and cultural context. Using Aristotle’s Politics as a template, this paper reviews the concept of citizenship by providing insights into the workings and attitudes of the citizens of the state of Athens, the city that served as “education to all Hellas”. Simultaneously, the paper presents a view into the civic mind of Aristotle, the greatest scholar of the Socratic school whose clinical and critical study of his society has continued to influence the modern thought.


Keywords


Citizen; Citizenship; Rights; Obligations; Aristotle

Full Text:

PDF

References


Appadoria, A. (1963). The substance of politics (p.28). London, Oxford Press.

Aristotle, B. R. (2007). Microsoft® student 2008 (DVD). Redmond W. A. Microsoft Corporation.

Aristotle. (1961). Nicomachean ethics. In J. A. K. Thomson (Trans., ed.), H. Tredennick (rev). Penguin Books, London.

Aristotle. (1962). Politics. In E. Barker (Trans., ed., pp.94-95). New York, NY, Oxford University Press.

Aristotle. (1962). The politics. In T. A. Sinclair (Trans., ed.), T. J. Saunders (rev). Penguin Books, London.

Aristotle. (1998). The politic. In C. D. C. Reeve (Trans.). Hackett Publishing Company, Cambridge.

Augustine, St. (1950). The city of God. In D. Marcus, G. Wilson, & J. J. Smith (Trans.). New York, Random House, Bk 1.

p.12

Cross, R. C., & Woodzey, A. D. (1966). Plato’s republic: A philosophical commentary. St Martin’s Press, New York.

Heinemann, R. (2004). Review of downsizing democracy: How America sidelined its citizens and privatised its public. In M. A. Crenson & B. Gingsberg (Eds.). The Independent Institute.

Heinemann, R. (2004). Review of downsizing democracy: How America sidelined its citizens and privatised its public. Matthew A. Crenson and Benjamin Gingsberg, in The Independent Institute.

Herbert, Y. M. (Ed.). (2002). Citizenship in transformation in Canada. Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

Herbert, Y. M., & Wilkinson, L. (2002). Conceptual policy, experiential and educational issues in citizenship. In Y. M. Herbert (Ed.), Citizenship in Transformation in Canada (p.3, 5). Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

Hosking, G. (2005). The modern scholar: Epochs of European civilisation: Antiquity to renaissance, Lecture 3: Ancient Greece. The Modern Scholar via Recorded Books, LCC, United Kingdom, ISBN 1-4025-8360-5. Retrieved from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/americanenglish/citizen

Locke, J. (1963). Two treatises of government (Bk.11, 40, p.338). In P. Laslett (Ed.). New York, Mentor Publishers.

Locke, J. (1963). Two treatises of government. In P. Laslett (Ed.), A critical edition with an introduction and apparatus criticu. Mentor Publishers, New York.

Marshall, T. H. (1950). Citizenship and social class (p.14). Cambridge University Press.

Marshall, T. H. (1950). Citizenship and social class. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Nichols, M. (1992). Citizens and statesmen: A study of aristotle’s politics. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Savage, Maryland.

Messe, E., et al. (2005). The heritage guide to the constitution. US: Regnery Publishing.

Machiavelli, N. (2007). In microsoft® student 2008 (DVD). Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.

Omoregbe, J. I. (1989). A Simplified History of Western Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, Vol. I. Joja Education Research & Publishers Limited, Lagos.

Plato. (1881). Republic. In B. Jowett (Trans.). Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Pocock J. G. A. (1998). The idea of citizenship since classical times. In S. Gerson (Ed.), The citizenship debates. Minneapolis, The University of Minnesota.

Ross, W. D. (1927). Aristotle: Selections (p.303). New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Ross, W. D. (Ed.). (1927). Aristotle: Selections. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York.

Somer, M. R. (1994). Right, relationality and membership: Rethinking the making and meaning of citizenship. Law & Social Inquiry, 19(1).

Stumpf, S. E. (1989). Philosophy: History and problems (4th ed.). McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Thucydides. (1954). The peloponnesian war. In R. Warner (Ed.). Penguin Classics Books.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/%25x

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2015 ‘Goke Akinboye

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Share us to:   


Reminder

  • How to do online submission to another Journal?
  • If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

  • Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

  • Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.
  • We only use four mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; office@cscanada.net; ccc@cscanada.net; ccc@cscanada.org

 Articles published in Cross-Cultural Communication are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).

 CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION Editorial Office

Address: 1020 Bouvier Street, Suite 400, Quebec City, Quebec, G2K 0K9, Canada. 
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://www.cscanada.net; Http://www.cscanada.org 
E-mail:caooc@hotmail.com; office@cscanada.net

Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture