What Does Citizenship Mean? Can You Be a Citizen of the World?
Browse articles:
Auto Beauty Business Culture Dieting DIY Events Fashion Finance Food Freelancing Gardening Health Hobbies Home Internet Jobs Law Local Media Men's Health Mobile Nutrition Parenting Pets Pregnancy Products Psychology Real Estate Relationships Science Seniors Sports Technology Travel Wellness Women's Health
Browse companies:
Automotive Crafts & Gifts Department Stores Electronics Fashion Food & Drink Health & Beauty Home & Garden Online Services Sports & Outdoors Subscription Boxes Toys, Kids & Baby Travel & Events

What Does Citizenship Mean? Can You Be a Citizen of the World?

Citizenship defined and question of the viability of world citizenship.


A citizen is a member of a defined social or political community with all the rights and obligations of that community. It might be a small community like a tribal affiliation or a larger community such as a city, state or country. An individual is likely a citizen of more than one community.

Most people understand that being a citizen of a community obligates you to certain behaviors and duties. Making a contribution to your community may define you as a good citizen. Neglecting your property, committing crimes or just being a bad neighbor will define you as a bad citizen.

Elements of Societies and States

There are particular elements in societies and states that will unite or divide people. There may be one or more of these elements in play. Depending on how closely an individual affiliates with or rejects these elements will impact what kind of citizen a person desires to be.

People are more limited than not regarding their mobility. It is only the privileged few that are able to pack up and move across the country or across the world if they no longer wish to be affiliated with a particular community. Those who are bound to a community because moving is not economically or politically possible may not feel any connection to a community at all and therefore may not participate as a citizen fulfilling their obligations to the community. If a citizen is prevented from participating in making changes in his or her community it further alienates them from the desire to be a good and contributing citizen.

World view, culture, politics, government, traditions, infrastructure, geography are all elements of societies and states that will impact citizenship. 

Geo-Political Borders

Sovereign nations have the right to protect and maintain their borders and the leaders of nations have authority to enact and enforce legislation. Foreigners entering any country are bound by the laws of that country. There are no countries that have open borders with no requirement of proper documentation for crossing the border or conducting business or commerce from country to country. A country has the obligation to protect it's citizens from foreign invasion and other threats to the safety and wellfare of it's people. The people living in those countries may respond by being good citizens.

Citizen of the World?

There are people and organizations that believe that each individual is a citizen of the world and that the element that binds us is that we are all human beings.

The beliefs of organizations such as World Government of World Citizens (WGWC) rejects the idea of political borders and maintains that nation-states are anachronistic and suicidal.

This rejection of borders and sovereign nations is a world view. It is highly dependent upon cooperation between cultures and people groups that hold widely varying world views. It would necessitate the rejection of almost all religion and oppress those with deep religious convictions. It also necessitates the rejection of about six or seven other dominant world views in order to embrace this one particular world view.

Ownership and government are intrinsic to citizenship. The World Citizen world view has the pretense of rejecting government but in reality desires that their world view dominate and govern the world. 

Need an answer?
Get insightful answers from community-recommended
in Law & Philosophy on Knoji.
Would you recommend this author as an expert in Law & Philosophy?
You have 0 recommendations remaining to grant today.
Comments (7)

Great article!

Citizenship is another tag or designation for the bodily identification, just like from the name of the country itself like Americans, Chinese, Africans, same as black, white or yellow race. if someone may ask, who am I? One can answer from these tags I am French, Spanish and so on but bodily identification leads to racism, sectarianism and discrimination. Somehow there is a deep outlook to our identity - the spiritual or the life-force identity, it is a great discussion. Great post here Judith.

Being a "citizen of the world", in it's most ideal situation, requires a world order that would fit its situation. I don't see this change happening any time soon.

Being a "citizen of the world", in it's most ideal situation, requires a world order that would fit its situation. I don't see this change happening any time soon.

Yes Rodge you are right. It is a utopian and I believe naive view and defies the nature of man. One world government may exist some day but I believe, if it were to happen, it would be at the cost of many lives and severe oppression of those who will not compromise their own world view.

Especially enjoyed your "citizen of the world" section. Voted.

We also must be concerned with being good citizens in our own backyards.