Democratic Citizenship: Characteristics And Examples

The democratic citizenship is that citizen participation in the political sidelines, they are entitled to all individuals within a community or a country in order to contribute to the development of the common good.

Citizenship and democracy are two concepts that, at present, make up the center of political thought; for this reason, they are closely linked. Taking into account common sense, it can be established that without the existence of democracy the existence of citizenship would not be possible either.

It is complex for connoisseurs to define the concept of citizenship, since it is based on different historical events that developed throughout the existence of humanity. In addition, it is necessary to remember that this concept may have its variations depending on the traditions and political customs of each country.

As a concept, citizenship had been forgotten for several decades; however, from the end of the 20th century, interest in this element began to emerge again.

This occurred as a response to great changes that were being experienced around the world, such as the fall of real socialism, as well as the emergence of neoliberalism as a new proposal for globalization.

Similarly, citizenship combines universal elements, such as the search for collective identity and access to justice. For this reason, democratic citizenship seeks to safeguard both individual and collective rights of a society through the inclusion or participation of citizens in the different political activities directed by the State.

Article index

  • one

    History of citizenship and democracy

    • 1.1

      The citizenship

    • 1.2


  • two


    • 2.1

      Citizen responsibility

    • 2.2

      The right to vote

    • 23

      Dialogs establishment

  • 3


  • 4


History of citizenship and democracy

The citizenship

Before citizenship, the concept of nationality was promoted in the first instance; This notion instantly refers to the sense of belonging that each individual who has been born in a certain place needs.

This means that elements such as nationality, national values ​​and the sense of belonging, among others, are those that allowed the development of democratic citizenship.

The origin of citizenship – as a concept and as a historical fact – dates back to ancient Greece, specifically from the 5th century BC. C., moment in which the first model of democratic government emerged.

This brought with it the invention of the polis , which allowed the delimitation of territories in small communities and introduced the concept of the individual as a citizen.

Thanks to this, a forceful transformation began to take place within the social and economic structures of ancient societies.

It was then that the aristocrats lost part of their power, as they began to be displaced by new citizens who became rich from agricultural work.


As for democracy, it also emerged during the V century BC. C. The etymology of this word means “government of the people”, which indicates that it is a government that is controlled and directed by the people.

At that time, said government was established through the exercise of the vote; however, only those who were considered citizens could exercise that right, which implied an exclusion of children, women and slaves. This was changing over the decades.


Citizen responsibility

Exercising the rights of a democratic citizenry implies that one must act in a responsible manner; therefore, citizens must participate in the search and understanding of the collective interest.

In addition, democratic citizens must ensure both individual and collective fulfillment of some basic goals that contribute to achieving the development of society. For example, individuals must ensure both their own education and that of their children.

The right to vote

One of the fundamental elements that characterizes democratic citizenship is that democratic citizens must exercise their right to vote from the age of majority (which may vary depending on the laws of each country).

They also have the right to participate in the political affairs of the State and can run for positions that are popularly elected.

Dialogs establishment

An ideal democratic citizenship is also characterized by allowing dialogue, creating a space in which tolerance is born but which also allows a plural debate to be held.

In this case, dialogue allows the necessary joint actions to be carried out that contribute to collective improvements. In turn, exemplary citizens must show respect for the opinion of others. A democratic citizenship exercised wisely reinforces national values ​​and demonstrates the dignity of each individual.

Finally, democratic citizenship currently states that all individuals that make up a country or region have legal equality, which establishes that there is no distinction between race, gender or affiliation.

Through democracy, in our days all citizens must be equal in the eyes of the law and have the power to participate healthily in any activity or political proposal belonging to the State. Of course, the conditions of this participation will depend on the traditions of each country.


A precise example of democratic citizenship can be found when the electoral days are carried out in a clean and orderly manner, thus allowing each citizen to choose the candidate of their choice, without fear of expressing their political leanings.

Another example of democratic citizenship occurs when any citizen exercises his right to freedom of expression, always maintaining constantly the values ​​of tolerance and respect for the opinion of others.

In any country, democratic citizenship may be in danger if the state establishes censorship against those who do not agree with its political leanings.

Finally, there is democratic citizenship in any country or region where the interests of citizens are protected by the State and by any institution that is in command of it. If the State violates or disrespects the rights of the citizen, then democracy has been indisputably violated.


  1. Carracedo, R. (2007) Critical theory of democratic citizenship . Retrieved on February 2, 2019 from Scielo:
  2. Díaz, D. (2018) Example of citizenship . Retrieved on February 2, 2019 from Diario de Huila:
  3. Olvera, A. (2016) Citizenship and democracy . Retrieved on February 2, 2019 from INE Library:
  4. Postigo, M. (2009) Democratic citizenship: education and civic virtues . Retrieved on February 2, 2019 from UCM Magazines:
  5. Puig, J. (2006) Citizenship practices. Retrieved on February 2, 2019 from El País:
  6. Torres, A. (2012) Education for democratic citizenship in educational institutions: its socio-pedagogical approach . Retrieved on February 2, 2019 from Redal:

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