“An introduction to the Politics of Citizenship” was an online course developed and offered for free, through the University of Nicosia’s online platform, by the Resources for Democracy project in Spring 2015 semester
Through this course, key questions on the concept of citizenship were elucidated and analysed. Such questions were, for example, what it means to be a citizen of a particular country and what rights and responsibilities are associated with citizenship. Throughout the lectures, participants have been encouraged to re-evaluate their perceptions of citizenship and delve into the effects that personal identity aspects such as age, gender, ethnicity and religion have onto their experience of citizenship.
These questions were aimed to provide participants an insight on the fundamental nature of citizenship and why it is at the heart of any understanding of the relationship between state and civil society. Practical examples were used in order to bring to the forth conflicts as to who may be considered as a citizen and who may be excluded, as well as how the politics surrounding citizenship can stimulate inter-ethnic conflict.
SOC-105 The State, Citizenship and Divided Societies
This 8 unit course focused on a set of contemporary issues which frequently dominate the news headlines around the world. It examined the causes, course and consequences of conflicts which have arose between groups within the same territorial boundaries that may also involve deadly conflicts between one state and another.
In order to bring some necessary clarity to bear in what can appear complex and fraught relationships, this course raised questions about how groups came into conflict around competing claims to nationhood, for example, or competition over who controls the state or access to citizenship.
The course also explored how these conflicts can be transformed or resolved and examined the current state of peace-building theory as well as practical case-studies including the long-running dispute in Cyprus. Particular emphasis was also given to a critical examination of ‘bottom-up’ peacebuilding efforts, which promoted the importance of local or civil engagement in resolving disputes.
State, Civil Society and Citizenship
The course was attended by 29 participants, students and Civil Society activists, from Cyprus (Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots) and the Euro-Mediterranean region.
The course explored multiple concepts and theories of the state, discrimination, social exclusion and the transformative effects of globalization upon them. More importantly, the role of citizens and civil society have in democratization processes, promoting accountability or in conflict transformation and peace-building initiatives were thoroughly examined and deliberated. Finally, special attention was given on drawing examples from Cyprus as well as the Eastern Mediterranean, in line with the broader project objectives.