Global citizenship
Global citizenship applies the whole world to bring world peace and the concept of citizenship
Citizenship is the state of being a citizen of a particular social, political, national, or human resource community. Citizenship status, under social contract theory, carries with it both rights and responsibilities...

 to a global level and is strongly connected with the concepts of globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 and cosmopolitanism
Cosmopolitanism is the ideology that all human ethnic groups belong to a single community based on a shared morality. This is contrasted with communitarian and particularistic theories, especially the ideas of patriotism and nationalism...

. World citizen
World citizen
World citizen has a variety of similar meanings, often referring to a person who disapproves of traditional geopolitical divisions derived from national citizenship....

ship is a term which can be distinguished from global citizenship, although some may merge the two concepts. Various ideas about what a global citizen is exist. Global citizenship can be defined as a moral
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 and ethical
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 disposition which can guide the understanding of individuals or groups of local and global contexts, and remind them of their relative responsibilities within various communities
The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

. The term was used by U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 in 2008 in a speech in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...


According to some articles, in this century children and students are meant to become "global citizens" through their education. This is possible through an integration of the "scientific and technical skills" as well as the "traditional academic disciplines".

According to some accounts, citizenship is motivated by local interests (love of family, communal fairness
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

, self-interest), global interests (a sense of universal equality
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

), and concern for fellow human beings, human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 and human dignity. The key tenets of global citizenship include respect for any and all fellow global citizens, regardless of race, religion or creed and give rise to a universal sympathy beyond the barriers of nationality. These sentiments were initially summarized by the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 author, pamphleteer and revolutionary Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine
Thomas "Tom" Paine was an English author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States...

 in Rights of Man
Rights of Man
Rights of Man , a book by Thomas Paine, posits that popular political revolution is permissible when a government does not safeguard its people, their natural rights, and their national interests. Using these points as a base it defends the French Revolution against Edmund Burke's attack in...


When translated into participatory action, global citizenship entails a responsibility to reduce international inequality
International inequality
International inequality is inequality between countries . Economic differences between rich and poor countries are considerable...

 (both social
Social inequality
Social inequality refers to a situation in which individual groups in a society do not have equal social status. Areas of potential social inequality include voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, the extent of property rights and access to education, health care, quality housing and other...

 and economic
Economic inequality
Economic inequality comprises all disparities in the distribution of economic assets and income. The term typically refers to inequality among individuals and groups within a society, but can also refer to inequality among countries. The issue of economic inequality is related to the ideas of...

), to refrain from action which compromises an individuals' well-being, and avoids contributing to environmental degradation
Environmental degradation
Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife...


Within the educational system, the concept of global citizenship education (GCE) is at times beginning to supersede movements such as multicultural
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

 education, peace education
Peace education
Peace education may be defined as the process of acquiring the values, the knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural environment....

, human rights education
Human rights education
Human rights education is the teaching of the history, theory, and law of human rights in schools and educational institutions, as well as outreach to the general public.-Human rights education and the United Nations:...

 and international education
International education
International education can mean many different things and its definition is debated. Some have defined two general meanings according to its involvement of students...

. Additionally, GCE rapidly incorporates references to the aforementioned movements. The concept of global citizenship has been linked with awards offered for helping humanity.

In international relations
International relations
International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

, global citizenship can refer to states' responsibility to act with the awareness that the world is a global community, by recognizing and fulfilling its obligations towards the global world, as well as the rights of global citizens. For example, states can choose to recognize the right to freedom of movement
Freedom of movement
Freedom of movement, mobility rights or the right to travel is a human right concept that the constitutions of numerous states respect...

. Global citizenship is related to the international relations theory
International relations theory
International relations theory is the study of international relations from a theoretical perspective; it attempts to provide a conceptual framework upon which international relations can be analyzed. Ole Holsti describes international relations theories act as a pair of coloured sunglasses,...

 of idealism
Idealism (international relations)
In the American study of international relations, idealism usually refers to the school of thought personified in American diplomatic history by Woodrow Wilson, such that it is sometimes referred to as Wilsonianism, or Wilsonian Idealism. Idealism holds that a state should make its internal...

, which holds that states should include a level of moral goodwill in their foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...



Many citizens could be labeled as emerging global citizens are actively engaged in efforts on a global scale – whether through business ventures, environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

, concern for nuclear weapons, health issues or immigration problems. The phenomenon of global citizenship can also be summarized by its lack of any global governing body. In other words, it is as if global citizens spontaneously erupted of their own volition. Some may identify a base in grassroots activism as common thread within the phenomenon of their emergence.

In a paper entitled "Global Citizenship - Towards a Definition," scholar Taso G. Lagos writes about the relation between global activism and global citizenship:

Global activity is on the rise. Demonstrations in Seattle in 1999, Genoa in 2001 and at dozens of other sites, brought activists together from a\e and other activities suggest the possibility of an emerging global citizenry. Individuals from a wide variety of nations, both in the North and South, move across boundaries for different activities and reasons. This transnational activity is facilitated by the growing ease of travel and by communication fostered by the Internet and telephony
In telecommunications, telephony encompasses the general use of equipment to provide communication over distances, specifically by connecting telephones to each other....


Lagos continues later:

A visible expression of global citizenship is the many global activists who debuted spectacularly at the Battle in Seattle
Battle in Seattle
Battle in Seattle is a 2007 film and the directorial debut of actor Stuart Townsend. It is based on the protest activity at the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999...

. These protests continue at other venues, such as at meetings for the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 and the International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund is an organization of 187 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world...

, and most recently at the Summit of the Americas
Summit of the Americas
The Summits of the Americas is a series of international summit meetings bringing together the leaders of countries in North America, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Neither the elderly leader nor a representative from Cuba participated in this summit...

 in Quebec City. Other activists fight for environmental protection, human rights to the impoverished and the unrepresented, and for restrictions on the use of nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Freedom from bureaucratic intervention seems to be a hallmark of global citizenship; the lack of a world body to sanction and protect these citizens also means to a certain degree freedom from bureaucratic control.

Further in the article Lagos elaborates:

Scholars have already noted the emerging power struggle between corporations and global activists who increasingly see the nexus of de facto governance taking place more and more within the corporate world (and as mediated by communication technologies like the Internet) and not in the halls of representative government. Hence, the tendency on the part of activists to promote rallies and events like the protests at WTO, as more effective means of citizen participation and democratic accountability.

In an article entitled "The Making of Global Citizenship," Falk identifies five potential categories of global citizens. He describes these as "a series of overlapping images of what it might mean to be a global citizen at this stage in history." According to Lagos, the majority of Falk's categories "have grassroots activism at their core" except for the example of elite global business people. Descriptions of the five categories are as follows:
Global reformers

Such citizens favour some form of centralized world government or organization in order to avoid global turmoil and maintain some form of unity throughout the world. Falk also points out a tendency for reformers to filter their visions through the cultural and political outlook of their "political community", and thereby impose their framework on the rest of the world.

Falk summarizes the global reformers' "spirit of global citizenship" with the statement, "It is not a matter of being a loyal participant who belongs to a particular political community, whether city or state, but feeling, thinking and acting for the sake of the human species, and above all for those most vulnerable and disadvantaged."
A man or woman of transnational affairs

This category of global citizens could also be described as elite global business people. Falk also points out that the vast majority of these people are men. He writes:

[T]his second understanding of global citizenship focuses upon the impact on identity of globalization of economic forces. Its guiding image is that the world is becoming unified around a common business elite, an elite that shares interests and experiences, comes to have more in common with each other than it does with the more rooted, ethnically distinct members of its own particular civil society: the result seems to be a denationalized global elite that at the same time lacks any global civic sense of responsibility.

To illustrate the above identity, Falk recounts a conversation he had with a Danish business leader on an airplane. The man praised the European Economic Community and its benefits to his business efforts. When Falk asked whether his experiences made him feel less Danish and more European, the man replied, "Oh no, I'm a global citizen."
Managers of environmental and economic global order

This perspective focuses more on environmental for that
needs but also looks at economic concerns. This view is exemplified by the Bruntland Commission's report, which "stress[es] the shared destiny on the earth as a whole of the human species ... [and] argues that unprecedented forms of cooperation among states and a heightened sense of urgency by states will be required to ensure the sustainability of industrial civilization." This perspective is often concerned with "making the planet sustainable at current middle-class lifestyles."
Regional political consciousness

Within Europe, the birthplace of the modern state, "The Euro-federal process is creating a sufficient structure beyond the state so that it becomes necessary, not merely aspirational, to depict a new kind of political community as emergent, although with features that are still far from distinct, and complete."

Falk asks, "Can Europe... forge an ideological and normative identity that becomes more than a strategy to gain a bigger piece of the world economic pie? Can Europe become the bearer of values that are directly related to creating a more peaceful and just world?"
Trans-national activists

Amnesty International and Greenpeace are examples of transnational activism, in part because they transcend national boundaries. Falk writes of the emergence of transnational activism, "the real arena of politics was no longer understood as acting in opposition within a particular state, nor the relation of society and the state, but it consisted more and more of acting to promote a certain kind of political consciousness transnationally that could radiate influence in a variety of directions, including bouncing back to the point of origin." This kind of activism became important to social movements during the 1980s. Falk also emphasizes that "this transnational, grassroots surge, is not, by any means, just a Northern phenomenon."

Also see: Global citizens movement
Global citizens movement
In most discussions, the global citizens movement is a socio-political process rather than a political organization or party structure. The term is often used synonymously with the anti-globalization movement or the global justice movement. Colloquially the term is also used in this imprecise manner...

International political issues

Global citizenship is qualitatively different from the national variety, where rights and obligations came (even when fought and protested for) at the behest and generosity of the state. With global citizenship, individuals exercise organizational tools such as the Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 to make themselves global citizens. No government sanctioned this development.

Since January 1, 2000, negotiations amongst World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization
The World Trade Organization is an organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade. The organization officially commenced on January 1, 1995 under the Marrakech Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade , which commenced in 1948...

 member states regarding the movement of professionals to and from member countries has taken place, under the General Agreement on Trade in Services, Article XIX. While this does not signal de facto recognition of trans-national citizens, it may indicate halting steps toward it. This is all the more significant given that around the globe there is greater and easier movement of goods than human beings.

The European Community has taken halting steps to change this: it allows the free movement of its people to live, work, pay taxes and, significantly, to vote in other member states. Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

 notes this as a utilitarian model that may have greater implications than merely for Europeans; it is possible the model may be expanded in other regions of the world, or to the entire world itself. The ability of a Spaniard to pick up and move to Germany and be a “citizen” there indicates that notions of ties a country of origin may weaken. The Spaniard may be quite happy living in Germany and not wish to go back to Spain.

There is also the rising tide of individuals with more than one passport. Where once the U.S. State Department frowned on its citizens carrying more than one passport, the reality is that today it is turning a blind eye. (In war, this may change). Many immigrants to the U.S. in the 1990s, a decade that saw the largest influx of newcomers to the state, came to work but still retained their old passports. While many immigrants permanently stay in the U.S., many others either go back to the old country, or travel back and forth. Such people may be considered global citizens.

Jacobson (1996) noted this fracture of the state as dispenser of citizen rights and obligations, although he sees the decline of overall citizenship as a result. Keck and Sikkink (1998) on the other hand, regard such global activism as a possible new engine of civic engagement. These global activists, or “cosmopolitan community of individuals” (p. 213) as they call them, transcend national borders and skillfully use pressure tactics against both government and private corporations that make them viable actors on the emerging global public sphere.

A striking example of this pressure is the anti-sweatshop
Anti-Sweatshop refers to campaigning movements to improve the conditions of workers in Sweatshops, i.e. manufacturing places characterized by low wages, poor working conditions and often child labor...

 campaign against Nike
Nike, Inc.
Nike, Inc. is a major publicly traded sportswear and equipment supplier based in the United States. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon, which is part of the Portland metropolitan area...

. Literally dozens of websites are devoted to exposing Nike’s labor practices. In 1996, with the aid of Global Exchange
Global Exchange
Global Exchange is an advocacy group and non-governmental organization , based in San Francisco, California, United States. The group's mission is to promote human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice around the world.-History:...

, a humanitarian organization that later helped to organize the Battle in Seattle, Nike’s labor practices became the subject of increasing mainstream media attention. In the process, Nike was linked to sweatshop labor, a label it has tried to shed ever since.

The Internet and other technologies such as the cell phone play an instrumental role in the development of global activists, as does cheaper air travel and the wide acceptance of credit card
Credit card
A credit card is a small plastic card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows its holder to buy goods and services based on the holder's promise to pay for these goods and services...

s. But there are other forces at work: decline in civic engagement, rise of lifestyle politics, homogenization of products, conglomeration in media systems and communication tools that let us know more about each other than ever before. Add to the mix the rising concern for universal human rights and for trans-global problems such as environmental degradation and global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

, the result is a landscape that tends to be more global than national.

This is not the first time in the history of our civilization that society has been “internationalized”, but never has it been easier for average citizens to express themselves in this globalized fashion – by the clothes they wear, the soda they drink, the music they listen to (e.g., world music
World music
World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local music"...

) and the vacation land they visit. It is increasingly obvious that our identities, as Lie and Servaes (2000) and Scammell (2001) suggest, are tied to our roles as citizens. Scammell’s “citizen-consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

s” vote with their purchases and are engaged in their communities to the extent they have the freedom to shop.

Geographical issues

Global citizens may redefine ties between civic engagement and geography. The town hall meeting
Town hall meeting
A town hall meeting is an American English term given to an informal public meeting. Everybody in a town community is invited to attend, not always to voice their opinions, but to hear the responses from public figures and elected officials about shared subjects of interest. Attendees rarely voted...

s of New England and other regions of the U.S. seem increasingly supplanted by “electronic spheres” not limited by space and time. This heralds a potentially startling new mechanism in participatory democracy.

Absentee ballots opened up the way for expatriate
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing...

s to vote while living in another country. The Internet may carry this several steps further. Voting is not limited by time or space: you can be anywhere in the world and still make voting decisions back home.

Most of U.S. history has been bound up in equating geography with sovereignty. It did matter where you lived, worked, played. Since travel was expensive and cumbersome, our lives were tied to geography. No longer can we entirely make this claim. Thompson (1996), writing in the Stanford Law Review
Stanford Law Review
The Stanford Law Review is a legal journal produced independently by Stanford Law School students. The journal was established in 1948 with future U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher as its first president...

, suggests that we can do away with residency and voting in local elections. Frug (1996) even suggests that alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

 in the way we regard our geography already creates a disconnect between it and sovereignty. If we are not entirely “home” at home, do boundaries make any difference anymore? This is not just an academic question, but one rife with rich and disheartening social and political possibilities. Global citizens float within, outside and through these boundaries. The implications seem significant.

Causes and influences

Many elements seem to spawn global citizenship, but one is noteworthy: the continuous tension that globalization has unleashed between local, national and global forces. An interesting paradox of globalization is while the world is being internationalized at the same time it’s also being localized. The world shrinks as the local community (village, town, city) takes on greater and greater importance. Mosco (1999) noted this feature and saw the growing importance of technopole
Technopole refers to a center of high-tech manufacturing and information-based quaternary industry.These may be developed by the private sector or by the co-operation or partnership between the public and private sectors. Governments of all levels promote them as a panacea for economies hurt by...

, or highly-technologized city-states that hark back to classical Greece. If this trend is true then it seems global citizens are the glue that may hold these separate entities together. Put another way, global citizens are people that can travel within these various boundaries and somehow still make sense of the world.

Any rights and obligations accorded to the global citizen come from the citizens themselves, growing public favor for “universal rights,” the rise of people migrating
Human migration
Human migration is physical movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic...

 around the world, and an increasing tendency to standardize citizenship. Difference may exist on the cultural level, but in bureaucracies, increasing favor is placed on uniformity. Efficiency and utilitarianism lie at the core of capitalism; naturally a world that lives under its aegis replicates these tendencies. Postal agreements, civil air travel and other inter-governmental agreements are but one small example of standardization that is increasingly moving into the arena of citizenship. The concern is raised that global citizenship may be closer to a “consumer” model than a legal one.

The lack of a world body puts the initiative upon global citizens themselves to create rights and obligations. Rights and obligations as they arose at the formation of nation-states (e.g. the right to vote and obligation to serve in time of war) are at the verge of being expanded. So new concepts that accord certain “human rights” which arose in the 20th century are increasingly being universalized across nations and governments. This is the result of many factors, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly . The Declaration arose directly from the experience of the Second World War and represents the first global expression of rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled...

 by the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in 1948, the aftermath of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the Holocaust
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 and growing sentiments towards legitimizing marginalized peoples (e.g., pre-industrialized peoples found in the jungles of Brazil and Borneo). Couple this with growing awareness of our impact on the environment, and there is the rising feeling that citizen rights may extend to include the right to dignity and self-determination
Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference...

. If national citizenship does not foster these new rights, then global citizenship may seem more accessible.

One cannot overestimate the importance of human rights discourse in shaping public opinion. What are the rights and obligations of human beings trapped in conflicts? Or, incarcerated as part of ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

? Equally striking, are the pre-industrialized tribes newly discovered by scientists living in the depths of dense jungle? Leary (1999), Heater (1999) and Babcock (1994) tend to equate these rights with the rise of global citizenship as normative associations, indicating a national citizenship model that is more closed and a global citizenship one that is more flexible and inclusive. If true, this places a strain in the relationship between national and global citizenship. Boli (1998) tends to see this strain as mutually beneficial, whereas Leary (1999) and McNeely (1998) regard the rupture between the two systems as merely evolutionary rather than combative.

Like much social change, changing scopes of modern citizenship tend to be played out in both large and minute spheres. Habermas (1994) tends to place global citizenship in a larger, social context, arguing that nations can be central engines of citizenship but culture can also be powerful. He regards the formation of the “European citizen” as a kind of natural epiphany
Epiphany (feeling)
An epiphany is the sudden realization or comprehension of the essence or meaning of something...

 of governmental conglomeration within the forces of globalization, only remotely alluding to the corporate conglomeration that has been both the recipient and cause of worldwide economic expansion. Others, including Iyer (2000) see globalization and global citizens as direct descendants of global standardization, which he notes, for instance, in the growing homogeneity of airports.
Standardization and modernity have worked together for the past few centuries. Ellul (1964), Mumford (1963) and other scholars attack this as a form of oppression, in the same vein that Barber (1996) saw the proliferation of carbon-copy fast-food chains around the globe. Why not a set of basic citizen rights followed the world over?

Global citizenship may be the indirect result of Pax Americana
Pax Americana
Pax Americana is an appellation applied to the historical concept of relative peace in the Western hemisphere and, later, the Western world, resulting from the preponderance of power enjoyed by the United States of America starting around the turn of the 20th century...

. The 20th century, as well as the 21st, may be a time dominated by the United States. America’s domination of the WTO, IMF, World Bank and other global institutions creates feelings of imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 among smaller nations. Cross national cooperation to counter American dominance may result in more global citizens. If economic, environmental, political and social factors push towards more global citizenry, we must also within this camp consider the ramifications of the post Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 world, or realpolitik
Realpolitik refers to politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than ideological notions or moralistic or ethical premises...


Another interpretation given by several scholars of the changing configurations of citizenship due to globalization is the possibility that citizenship is a possibly changed institution, even if situated within territorial boundaries that are national, if the meaning of the national itself has changed.


Not all interpretations of global citizenship are positive. For example, Parekh advocates what he calls globally oriented citizenship, and states, "If global citizenship means being a citizen of the world, it is neither practicable nor desirable" He argues that global citizenship, defined as an actual membership of a type of worldwide government system, is impractical and dislocated from one's immediate community. He also notes that such a world state would inevitably be "remote, bureaucratic, oppressive, and culturally bland."

Parekh presents his alternate option with the statement: "Since the conditions of life of our fellow human beings in distant parts of the world should be a matter of deep moral and political concern to us, our citizenship has an inescapable global dimension, and we should aim to become what I might call a globally oriented citizen." Parekh's concept of globally oriented citizenship consists of identifying with and strengthening ties towards one's political regional community (whether in its current state or an improved, revised form), while recognizing and acting upon obligations towards others in the rest of the world.

In another example, Michael Byers, a professor in Political Science at the University of British Columbia
University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia is a public research university. UBC’s two main campuses are situated in Vancouver and in Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley...

, questions the assumption that there is one definition of global citizenship, and unpacks aspects of potential definitions. In the introduction to his public lecture, the UBC Internalization website states, "'Global citizenship' remains undefined. What, if anything, does it really mean? Is global citizenship just the latest buzzword?" Byers notes the existence of stateless persons, whom he remarks ought to be the primary candidates for global citizenship, yet continue to live without access to basic freedoms and citizenship rights.

Byers does not oppose the concept of global citizenship, however he criticizes potential implications of the term depending on one's definition of it, such as ones that provide support for the "ruthlessly capitalist economic system that now dominates the planet." Byers states that global citizenship is a "powerful term" because "people that invoke it do so to provoke and justify action," and encourages the attendees of his lecture to re-appropriate it in order for its meaning to have a positive purpose, based on idealistic values.

Many other people believe that global citizenship is a racist concept because it aspires to disengage people from their cultural allegiances and prepare the ground for a world government which, having no cultural connection with its people, would be anti-democratic and oppressive. They also think the concept defies a rational view of human nature in which self-interest is the fundamental guiding principle, albeit with the addition of a humane concern for others.

In contrast to questioning definitions, a counter-criticism can be found on the World Alliance of YMCA
The Young Men's Christian Association is a worldwide organization of more than 45 million members from 125 national federations affiliated through the World Alliance of YMCAs...

's website. An online article in YMYCA World emphasizes the importance of fostering global citizenship and global social justice, and states, "Global citizenship might sound like a vague concept for academics but in fact it’s a very practical way of looking at the world which anyone, if given the opportunity, can relate to." The author acknowledges the positive and negative outlooks towards globalization, and states, "In the context of globalisation, thinking and acting as global citizens is immensely important and can bring real benefits, as the YMCA experience shows."

Further reading

  • Bauman, Zygmunt, Intimations of Postmodernity (1992: Routledge, London)
  • Bellamy, Richard, “Citizenship beyond the nation state: the case of Europe,” from Political Theory in Transition, edited by Noël O’Sullivan (2000: Routledge, London)
  • Bennett, W. Lance, News: the Politics of Illusion (1996: Longman, New York)
  • Bennett, W. Lance, “Consumerism and Global Citizenship: Lifestyle Politics, Permanent Campaigns, and International Regimes of Democratic Accountability.” Unpublished paper presented at the International Seminar on Political Consumerism, Stockholm University, May 30, 2001.
  • Best, Steven & Kellner, Douglas, The Postmodern Turn (1997: Guilford Press, New York)
  • Clarke, Paul Berry, Deep Citizenship ( 1996: Pluto Press, London)
  • Eriksen, Erik & Weigård, Jarle, “The End of Citizenship: New Roles Challenging the Political Order” in The Demands of CitizenshipI, edited by Catriona McKinnon & Iain Hampsher-Monk (2000: Continuum, London)
  • Franck, Thomas M., The Empowered Self: Law and Society in the Age of Individualism (1999: Oxford University Press, Oxford)
  • Henderson, Hazel, “Transnational Corporations and Global Citizenship,” American Behavioral Scientist, 43(8), May 2000, 1231-1261.
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  • Jacobson, David, Rights across Borders: Immigration and the Decline of Citizenship (1996: Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore)
  • Lie, Rico & Servaes, Jan, “Globalization: consumption and identity – towards researching nodal points,” in The New Communications Landscape, edited by Georgette Wang, Jan Servaes and Anura Goonasekera (2000: Routledge, London)
  • Kaspersen, Lars Bo, “State and Citizenship Under Transformation in Western Europe” in Public Rights, Public Rules: Constituting Citizens in the World Polity and National Policy, edited by Connie L. McNeely (1998: Garland, New York)
  • Kennedy, John F., Profiles in Courage (1956: Harper & Brothers, New York)
  • Preston, P.W., Political/Cultural Identity: Citizens and Nations in a Global Era (1997: Sage, London)
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  • Turner, Bryan D., "Postmodern Culture/Modern Citizens" in The Condition of Citizenship, edited by Bart van Steenbergen (1994: Sage Publications, London)
  • Weale, Albert, “Citizenship Beyond Borders” in The Frontiers of Citizenship, edited by Ursula Vogel & Michael Moran (1991: St. Martin’s Press, New York)

External links

  • Pike, G., & Selby, D. (2000). In the global classroom 2. Toronto: Pippin Publishing.
  • Pike, G., & Selby, D. (1988). Global teacher, global learner. London: Hodder & Stoughton
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