Active Citizenship – A Literature ReviewActive Citizenship basically refers to active civic participation. It is an extremely essential concept for both the rejuvenation of civil society as well as for public governance. The present day societal challenges make it imperative to implement civic participation and also focus on factors which enhance or limit such participation. This concept aids the understanding of the evolution of citizenship owing to the enlargement and dissolution of geographical boundaries and the globalisation and glocalization at large. Enhancement of diversity due to increased mobility of people necessitate new and novel forms of communication and connect the lives of people in different places to facilitate travel as well as exchange of ideas.
Although volunteering and active citizenship are intricately associated both in government procedures and in political debates. Both together aid a fundamental thread of communal cohesion and civic rejuvenation as are the aspects of local security. However, it is very superficially, that active citizenship has been referred to as a volunteering or an informal social commitment. Rather, it embraces formal, non-formal, cultural, interpersonal as well as ethnic endeavours.
An expansion in the community welfare provision as well as community support outside the family has accorded a new context in which accountability for education, care and welfare is realised. Today, fewer social services in arenas such as health, education, youth related activities and poverty assuaging are undertaken by religious institutions or trusts. Voluntary and community enterprises are much more vigorously supported and financed by State and public agencies. There are various organizations like for example The Association of the Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA), which are committed towards furthering this concept and in this regard, have launched an ambitious pilot projects with thematic exercises.
At various levels, the initiatives taken range from implementation of training modules on this concept of active civic participation aimed at local agencies and civil society institutions. A wide ranging practical citizenship exercise and practical involvement learning methodologies are proposed to have been adopted in this regard. A large variety of publications and handbooks towards creating an awareness of this concept along with awarding scholarships for mutual implementation of active citizenship activities have been introduced.
A host of surveys, best practice exchanges, conferences, seminars and public awareness campaigns have aided the progress of citizens’ participation at micro level. Similarly another such organisation called ‘The taskforce on active citizenship’ operates in Ireland which reviews and tracks the trends in civic participation across communities and cultural expanse in Ireland which also involves a comparison with the international developments. The report prepared by this organization discusses the evolution of this model and an evaluation of the association between Active citizenship, societal development and social capital. This report analyses the relevance of the subject in present day’s context.
The concept of active citizenship can be traced back to political science, philosophy and sociology. A legalistic view of citizenship is not necessary and it can be absorbed well in various normative structures. This concept has been closely derived from the concept of civil republicanism which is in turn a derivative of social capital.