3. CITIZENSHIP – connection between individual and society, not only political (16.01.2019)

Citizenship (Filippo Bignami)

The concept of citizenship is nowadays debated and under tension, often restrictedly called “a determinative legal status” (Nguyen, 2018, p. 93), simply something of an analytical-reconstructive path. It rather goes beyond that, however, as a nexus between individuals and society, as it identifies the political, social, economic and cultural characteristics of such a nexus. It is, in fact, identified in specific dimensions, affecting different theoretical aspects (stemming from both political and social studies) and practical aspects (the legal and administrative). With regard to citizenship in a transition mentoring perspective, an elemental role is played by the individual as the main actor and meanwhile constructor of this nexus. The individual is the key driver and needs to acquire knowledge of how to “join” the society as its member. A distinction should be made between the behavior of citizenship and the components of the competences on which this behavior is built. The components of competences are formulated in terms of knowledge, attitudes, skills, and reflection (Geboers, Geijsel, Admiraal, & ten Dam, 2013).

Having outlined the nexus between individuals and society entails acknowledging that the concept of citizenship is complex. Citizenship is a political ideal: sometimes the way a person is treated depends on whether he has the status of a citizen. Citizenship includes protection of a person’s rights in a wide perspective. It entails legal, political, social and also economic dimensions: the status as a full member of a collectivity, the recognition of that status by peer citizens and the character of the individual acting as a member of society, allowing the full participation and enacting being active members.


Geboers, E., Geijsel, F., Admiraal, W., & ten Dam, G. (2013). Review of the effects of citizenship education. Educational Research Review 9(2013), 158–173.

Nguyen, J. (2018). Identity, rights and surveillance in an era of transforming citizenship. Citizenship Studies, 22(1), 86-93. doi: 10.1080/13621025.2017.1406456