Civics and Citizenship | Scope or Span of Civics and Citizenship

Civics and Citizenship

Civics is an English word. It is derived from two Latin words: 'Civics' and 'Civitas'. The word 'Civics' means citizen and 'Civitas' means city-state. In ancient Greece, citizens and the city-state were inseparable. At that time, a city-state was comprised of small regions. Those who directly participated in the functions of the city-state were called citizens. As slaves, women and foreigners did not enjoy this privilege, they were not called citizens.

At present, the concept of citizen has changed with the rise of large scale nation-states. For example, the area of Bangladesh is 1,47,570 sq. kilometers and the total population is nearly 150 million.

We are all Bangladeshi citizens. Along with enjoying the rights of citizenship, we perform responsibilities and duties to the state. 

However, those under 18 years old among us cannot cast their votes and do not have the right to be elected. In addition, foreigners cannot enjoy any political rights. For instance, neither can they vote nor be nominated for election. 

In fact, the status accorded to the citizens by the state is called citizenship. Everything related to citizenship and state is the subject matter of 'Civics and Citizenship'.

Therefore, British political scientist E.M. White rightly said that Civics is such a valuable branch of knowledge that deals with the past, present, and future of citizenship along with its local, national, and international dimensions of humanity in detail.

In the light of subject matters, we can discuss Civics in two ways. In a narrow sense, the subjects of Civics include rights and duties. In a broader sense, Civics discusses everything related to citizenship. For example, it discusses rights and duties, social and political institutions, local, national and international dimensions of citizenship. Civics also discusses the present, past and future of citizenship.

So, it can be said that the subject which impacts knowledge about ideal citizenship by continued discussions of the behaviours and functions of citizens, families, society and the state is called 'Civics and Citizenship'.

Scope or span of Civics and Citizenship

The scope of Civics and Citizenship is vast and comprehensive. We are going to discuss it below:

Citizens' Right and Duties: We enjoy state-given fundamental, social, political and economic rights as the state's citizens; similarly, we have to perform responsibilities and duties to the state. For example, expressing allegiance to the state, abiding by laws, paying taxes at the right time, educating children, serving the state, casting votes with honesty, and so on. The rights and duties of citizen are the subject matter of 'Civics and Citizenship'. Moreover, the characteristics of good citizenship, barriers to earning it and the ways to remove the obstacles are discussed in 'Civics and Citizenship'.

Social and Political Institutions: Social and political institutions have been raised to develop and enrich citizens' lives. For example, family, society, the state, electron and political parties, etc. The origin, nature, and functions of these institutions are also discussed in 'Civics and Citizenship. Besides, the subject matters of 'Civics and Citizenship' also include social values, law, liberty and equality, constitution and public opinion.

Local, National and International Dimensions of Citizenship: The place where we live in virious local institutions develop centering us. These institutions are as follows: Union Parishad, Pourashava and City Corporations, etc. Similarity, legislature, executive and judiciary are formed at the national level. International institutions like the UN and the Commonwealth are also formed. 'Civics and  Citizenship' deals with the structure and functions of these institutions and their relationships with citizens.

Past, Present and Future of Citizenship: Civics and Citizenship focus on the past, present and future of citizenship. For instance, how citizenship was determined, how citizens' rights and duties were in the past, and what citizens' the present status is. Based on civics and Citizenship the guidelines are given for citizenship in the future.

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