Globalisation is changing the way governments and citizens act, whereby migration, whether to or from the country, changes legislation, public opinion and can create tensions. Citizens of states now expect a supply of services, provisions and opportunities for economic growth. These expectations are often quoted as ‘rights’. With rights, you can demand from the government and have the ability to change or shape the community. However, in return for supplying provisions, the state asks for citizens to act in accordance with the law. Meanwhile citizens have a responsibility to the state, to give back to the state and community.

Being a citizen comprises of making demands on the state and exercising your rights, while also meeting certain obligations imposed by the state. An example is the citizen is expected to act within the law and pay taxes, while the state is responsible for the upkeep and construction of facilities like homes, shops and services.

The ‘state’ however refers to a number of organisations and bodies which undertake a range of responsibilities including;

  • Regulating financial markets
  • Remaining competitive in the world/ encouraging trade
  • Raising taxes when necessary
  • Invest in infrastructure and transport provisions
  • Invest in welfare and security provisioning
  • Recruit and mobilise military forces for defence and protection when necessary
  • Invest and provision education for citizens
  • Provide and regulate a justice system
  • Provide security forces like Police
  • Confer rights of citizenship, including passports, process immigration and administer asylum claims
  • Create a sense of national belonging and identity – can utilise the media and broadcasting tools

Globalisation has therefore created a change in demands and expectations in states. There are new opportunities to reach audiences while distant states can influence decisions. The state can extend its reach over distance in order to influence the activities across its territory, and this ability to influence decisions across territories and otherwise affect the proximity between state and citizens.

Formations of Citizenship

Citizenship is not stagnant, and is subject to the new and changing demands of both the citizen and the state. Both have enforceable rights and obligations to satisfy. Citizenship develops through conflicts and tension, such as taxes are too high, there are not enough provisions for welfare or that the state should not use their military force in certain nations.

State formation in Europe

The development of citizenship in Europe was constructed on the idea that citizens were members of unified national communities. This involved defining citizens as being part of a shared heritage and identity. It was through war and conquest that many states are what they are today, war and conquest became costly to sustain, especially when acquiring new and foreign assets, so the state demanded taxes to be imposed on the current and new population. This provided a stable revenue for the state in order to source provisions and fight wars and conflicts. This presented a new demand of the state on its citizens and now it is a basic obligation. In order for the state to collect taxes accordingly and efficiently, it needed an infrastructure and administration that could accomplish this. A system was needed in order to measure and monitor the economic activity of citizens and households.

One development was the national postal systems, which enabled relatively quick communication of officials. It also helped with the circulation of capital across the country. These postal systems soon became lines of communication between the state and citizens, but also between citizens. This therefore extended the ‘reach’ of the state regardless where the citizens occupied.

However, that is to not say that all citizens and communities simply abided to the rules of the state imposed on them. An example was the tax increases from the UK to its US colonies in the 1760s and 1770s where the British Government tried to impose these and were met with conflict. The Americans demanded that they should only pay taxes if they are represented politically – “no taxation without representation”. In the decades to follow the British Government, after war and conflict, conceded and lost their colonies which formed the United States of America. This demonstrated that without proper authority and control, the state cannot successfully impose rules on its citizens without revolt.

The state will often increase taxes, but in order for its citizen’s compliance, they may bargain with what taxes are increased and tax concessions elsewhere. This began the rule of bargaining where the state can do what it likes, but, needs to bargain with its citizens. Concession or bargaining can include political power, tax breaks, education and more. This extended the ‘reach’ of the state in being involved in citizens lives, rather than just a body to collect taxes and wage war.

Citizenship therefore is shaped by conflict, tension and resolution. Citizenship is contested and not the same as say a decade ago, 50 years ago and a century ago. This also suggests that not only are rights different overtime, but also differ in different areas.

State formation in Africa

The way the countries in Africa developed its citizenship is in stark contrast to that of the USA. Many African states were characterised by the lack of infrastructure and lack of ability to exert control over citizens. Many African states do not extract taxes from the domestic market and rely heavily on foreign trade and investment.  Since the wave of independence in the 1960s, many African nations have had to use trading concessions on their natural resources and minerals in order to attract income. During the colonial times the states of Africa were primarily exploited for their resources, so investment of citizenship was not a priority.

Taxation, as the US demonstrates, shows how states exercise controls over citizens and create uniformity between nations. However, if there were a lack of tax collections within the African nations, then this relationship was not built. Taxing international investors and trade only requires control over borders and access – and does not rely heavily on the citizens of the state. Therefore, the ruling elite of the nations could easily exploit the citizens and resources, with an already established revenue stream, without consulting or empowering the citizens as it bypassed this.

The lack of a need to develop administrative systems to collect tax from citizens therefore caused disparity and variance amongst the states. Due to the terrain and size of the territory, links were not established between the rural communities in order to collect taxes or establish control. Therefore, whether under colonial or independent rule, many states still have poor links to its citizens or the reach is not as extensive. 

In modern times nations like Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia have tried to introduce effective administrative systems. However, they face tension as citizens do not see, or receive the benefits of, taxation. The legacy of colonial rule of exploitation and authoritarian rule from one person rather than governmental body, has mean that the citizenship of African states has arrived at a different point.

The indirect and colonial rule, which relied on chiefs and community leaders in order to reach the colonies goal, empowered individuals but did not accomplish deep or meaningful relationships. As no meaningful relationship was developed between the state and citizens in African nations, it has meant that the state hardly intervenes in citizens lives since disbandment.

Compare state making and demands from governments and their citizens. Make a list of similarities and differences in the formation and maintenance of different nations in the world. No one nation is identical in its state formation, partially due to history, culture, language, trade and more.

Making states and making citizens

Making citizens, and formulating citizenship, has been a consequence of tension and bargaining. It concerns the power of the state over the citizens, their reach and their involvement in their everyday lives. Without this, the state cannot exert power or expect demands to be met.

Globalisation is having an effect on citizenship, and it has coincided with the proliferation of more independent states than before. This globalised world now has more states and identities to contend with, along with understanding the various ways citizenship is organised and practised.

The United Nations (UN) founded in 1945 demonstrates the sheer growth of independence and growing states. At its formation is had 51 member states, which grew to 99 in 1960 after the fall of colonial rule. By 1970 the UN had 127 member states including the recently independent Caribbean, Middle East and African nations. The number continued to soar in the end of the 20th century after the dissolution of the Soviet state. The number grew from 159 to 189 between 1990 to 2000 alone.

As you can see lots of states have ‘appeared’ in the past 60 years, and these states need to unify its citizens and create a national identity. National identities need to unite citizens, perhaps drawing from history or ancestry, in order to have a unified identity. This can include a flag or symbol to represent the people as well as a national anthem. The media can play a role in developing a national identity too as you can have common sport teams, radio and television shows.

State operations of the citizens

To make a state, the governmental body needs to monitor and maintain their populations. This can include taking taxes or building an infrastructure in order to ‘control’ your populations movements and sustain revenue. The capacity of the state to understand its population needs is a feature of modern states, servicing the needs of the community in order to stay in power. Most of the states work relies on surveys and data analysis, as well as ability to monitor the population and intervene where necessary. However, the state’s ability to intervene is only as good as it’s reach to its population.

Another way of monitoring the population is not through data analysis, but from civil workers who work on behalf of the state. These agents, like police officers, social workers and judges, also extend the control of the state. These agents can engage with citizens directly and offer various services which affect the citizen’s routines. The network of agents and communication across a state is part of formulating a state and keeping it in its form.

For many modern states, centralisation is key in order to exact justice, control and order over citizens. Although agents are dispersed and not in the immediate centre, they report back and collect information to be analysed by the state. Centralised state authority is key when there are large distances in order to keep citizens in check.

Extending reach over citizens involves two processes;

  1. Agents of the state have to interact directly with the citizens in order to monitor and regulate activity. It makes the states seem close to its citizens in order to control them.
  2. The information collected from agents is relayed back to the state and organisations in order to make decisions. It involves undermines distance and ensures information goes to one central point.

Data Collection and Analysis

Census information helps with understanding your population. However, they are not easy or cheap to conduct. Namely you need to distribute the forms, collect them and then analyse the sheer amount of data and put it into a meaningful context. It is then re-distributed to government bodies, corporations and citizens to interpret. The census provides information to the state in order to improve circumstances and to keep the close engagement of citizens.

Presence in Society

There are two ways the state exerts its presence in society.

  1. Material presence of the state in citizens lives. This includes locations of government buildings which serve as a physical occupation in communities. The agents of the state occupy these buildings.
  2. Physical presence of state agents in or around the home who serve to mediate between the state and citizens. This can include social worker, police officer or doctor visits. How these agents conduct themselves is a reflection on the state.

Both the formal and informal interactions, direct or indirect, shape the citizens view and opinion of the state. It also may affect how much they cooperate with the state as well. As the census demonstrates how the state engages with citizens, the information helps shape policies and create opportunities. Many of the state’s operations rely on the cooperation of its citizens, and extending the reach works both ways as the citizens can exert their rights.

Reconfiguring states and citizens

The globalised world brings challenges in how states and citizens are regarded by each other. Globalisation alters the way in which states and citizens exercise their rights, and the capacity to reach into each other’s sphere. This also affects in turn how the state and citizens make demands.

Fragmented citizenship

Globalisation, industrialisation, urbanisation and economic and social growth has caused tensions and fragmented citizenship. An example is with the Asian Tigers, who are widely considered NICs, such as Singapore, Thailand and South Korea. These nations experienced rapid economic growth, which has led to rising affluence and middle class. The states, as a response to this, have issued interventionist policies, where the state is actively involved in economic strategy by establishing companies, subsidised loans and investing in infrastructure.

As with these Asian nations, the state has emphasised the state ability to promote and sustain high levels of economic growth in order to deliver steady improvements in living standards – this is compared to citizen revolt and extension of civil liberties as per the European nations before. Although for many of these nations economic growth has been uncontrollable, they have responded to the change in the market. NICs in Asia have adopted a ‘post developmental’ state where the goal is to bring citizens and resources to the state in order to connect to global markets. The aim is to also produce a skilled, entrepreneurial middle class that can use links to global markets through access to education or capital. These post developmental states slightly reduce their control over economic production for greater management of the population. The state expects citizens to be flexible and entrepreneurial, which is accomplished through fragmented citizenship.

  1. Treating certain sects in certain ways. People are offered different rights and entitlements depending upon their class, gender or racial identity. This is often built upon prior colonial categories. Such as in Singapore the ethnic Chinese and Malaysians have certain rights – the classification is maintained by census data. These sects have different parts to play in the global market and this has led to marketing sects of society as attractive for different means – i.e. cheap labour or entrepreneurial spirit.
  2. Dividing the territory into special, market zones to attract corporations. Such as Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Special Administrative Regions (SARs). These zones are exempt from certain rules and operate fairly autonomously. SEZs attract capital investment through incentives and relaxed regulations. SARs are a means to control the likes of Hong Kong following the end of colonial rule (1997). These areas have political and economic autonomy, so residents have more civil liberties than the rest of the nation.

Therefore, differential treatment and zoning of territory are strategies through which post-developmental states have fragmented citizenship. Rather than extending reach and making the state uniform, the state manages different groups differently, extending varying degrees of citizenship. This is a means to connect to a global market for growth.

Globalisation has made us re-evaluate how we treat citizens, and whether they should be treated as a whole or within their own communities. The economy in the same way is not a single, integrated and national market, but one which relies on global connections and trade.

Flexible citizenship and transnational activism

Due to the variance in citizen rights across society and the globe, some people have more rights, power and influence than others. They can exert these rights to improve theirs, or someone else’s, circumstances. This of course depends on their identity, where they live and their social hierarchy.

Transnational migration has created dual citizenship arrangements, which grants some the status of citizen despite not occupying the nation or relinquishing their citizenship from another nation. These citizens can make demands of more than one state in order to have access to all the benefits and entitlements. These citizens can act transnationally, engaging as a resident to more than one. However, this is only possible with the help of non-state bound agents and NGOs.

As globalisation shapes the socio-economic circumstances of citizens, political mobilisation often has to go beyond the nation state. Transnational political activism is another example of citizens adopting flexible strategies in order to enforce and secure the rights that they believe state members are entitled too. Often it involves other agents beyond their own state in order to drive change.

Pulling in and influencing corporations

The process of citizens pulling in and establishing connections across distances in order to campaign against state injustices generates new forms of proximity. It establishes links, relays and interactions across the world against a common campaign. The same process of ‘reaching out’ mirrors that of state formation. However, in this case citizens are the main agents of change, and extending their power beyond the state, and enlisting other agents to accomplish their goal. The media can help raise awareness and mobilise forces across the world as well.

Citizens do have the power to draw in states and corporations to meet their demands transnationally. They can do this in three main ways;

  1. Proliferation of media and communications in various forms
  2. Movement of materials and data to be analysed
  3. Movement of people such as activists

The above actions can be used to make demands either by reaching out to pull in resources to enable citizens to enforce demands locally, or by reaching out to influence other agents or events that are located internationally.

How does globalisation affect the rights of the state and citizen?

Globalisation is producing new challenges for states and citizens. States are being ‘redesigned’, rather than undermined, by globalisation. The flexible citizenship combines both national and transactional activities. Globalisation produces global forms of political activism. Activism is not contained to one community, or even one nation, but can incorporate a range of mediums and nations.

The relationship between states and citizens is shaped by the changing reach of both the state and citizen, and their capabilities to incite change. The state has always explored ways to exert and maintain control of its citizens – a consequence of extending control over distances often means the state needs close proximity with citizens. The process of bringing together isolated pockets and communities leads to the development of reciprocal relationships between the state and citizens.

Different tactics of consolidating control from the state produce different levels of interaction and responses. These ways to consolidate control include taxation, census work, civil liberties, welfare schemes and more. Likewise, citizens can influence decision making by being a political participant, voting and becoming an activist. These forms of interactions bring the state closer to its citizens, and vice versa.

Globalisation has not undermined the power of the state, rather, it has given it new powers. With the likes of denying or granting citizenship, states can select those it wants regarded as citizens. The fragmentation of citizenship rights, especially in NIC nations, develops the states reach to certain groups and constructs zones and segments of society.

The demands made by states of citizens have become more refined to give states the competitive edge. The demands of the citizens on the states have also expanded to empower the citizen through political activation, as well as offer protection from exploitation and pollution. In summary, the demands and counter demands that construct citizenship are also affected by the ability to reach out beyond the state boundaries. This creates a new form of proximity between the citizen, state and other nations. Foreign investment and transnational activism are creating a sense of global community and proximity.  

Think about how globalisation has affected citizens and their rights – what are your rights when you go abroad or shop abroad? How do you think globalisation and the global community impacts the rights and status of citizens? Draw up a list of how you exercise your rights and change society.

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