Arenas of Citizenship
Civil Society, the State, and the Global Order
Traditional conceptions of citizenship have privileged individuals’ relationships to the state. However, recent emphasis on civil society as a terrain of democratic empowerment suggests a shift in our ideas about what citizens properly do and the arenas in which they do it. Jaggar argues that it would be a mistake to privilege activism in civil society over traditional state-centered political activity and she contends that democratic citizenship may—and must—be performed in multiple arenas. For example, some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have come to depend on governmental support. And governments in affluent nations may be better providers than civil organizations of the critical social services, such as nutrition, healthcare, and education, on which many women and children depend. Feminists need enriched understandings of citizenship that recognize the indispensability of both national and transnational civil society but still maintain a strong focus on the state.
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