Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Citizenship - digital and otherwise

I just read Alec Corous' post on Understanding Digital Citizenship. I will write more about the contents of the article later as I really need to digest all that is mentioned. In addition, Vicki Davis has written an excellent response to this post as well. In his post, he quotes a definition. Excuse the repeat link of the definition, but it really struck a chord in me.

According to Wikipedia's definition of polis citizenship:

The first form of citizenship was based on the way people lived in the ancient Greek times, in small-scale organic communities of the polis. In those days citizenship was not seen as a public matter, separated from the private life of the individual person. The obligations of citizenship were deeply connected into one’s everyday life in the polis. To be truly human, one had to be an active citizen to the community, which Aristotle famously expressed: “To take no part in the running of the community's affairs is to be either a beast or a god!” This form of citizenship was based on obligations of citizens towards the community, rather than rights given to the citizens of the community. This was not a problem because they all had a strong affinity with the polis; their own destiny and the destiny of the community were strongly linked. Also, citizens of the polis saw obligations to the community as an opportunity to be virtuous, it was a source of honour and respect. In Athens, citizens were both ruler and ruled, important political and judicial offices were rotated and all citizens had the right to speak and vote in the political assembly.

Wow! Have we lost that sense of our obligation? Why are the rights to do _______ (insert whatever!) more important than the obligations? This is transferred easily into all the ills of today's world. The fact that technology is evolving so rapidly means that these ills are so easily seen, expanded, and seemingly out of control. I need to think more aboiut all of this but more importantly think about my actions. Have I been modeling this appropriately in my life?


  1. Thanks for joining the conversation ... I look forward to what you write on this subject. Cheers.

  2. There are those that argue that citizenship is not the right word to use with these skills. I personally, agree with you and cannot think of a better word!