August 19, 2016

Citizenship versus multi-culturalism

It is quite interesting to learn that citizenship has been a controversial notion throughout the history of the world. This is in fact a contested concept, involving a wide range of meaning depending on the types of political community in which it is put. There has been a heated debate since time immemorial as to what type of relationship should govern a political community both domestic and foreign or the nature of its membership along with right and duties. Such being the case, this is not a new phenomenon but has been the case of all political communities across time and space.
In this juncture, it is worth remembering that the issue of citizenship is not devoid of institutional mechanism and the governance process, which a particular community adopts. Accordingly, it need be analysed in consequence with the evolution of state-system and its governing process. Usually, it is understood that the form and substance of citizenship in each historical period highlight the socio-economic and political forces operating in that particular period. Nevertheless, a deeper investigation has raised many more questions as to who the citizens are, what makes up citizenship, who are inclusive of and exclusive from citizenship and on what basis. In addition, there have also emerged questions as to it is only a legal or political status or it has something to do with the socio-economic or religious-cultural circumstance in which it is placed upon etc. These set of questions offer a complicated set of answers that must be understood in a historical perspective.
In a nutshell, citizenship must be considered from a historical perspective. In addition, multi-culturalism should not be neglected especially in a society like Myanmar which is inhabited by a plethora of national races and ethnic minorities, which, according to the statistics of the previous government, number 135 in toto.


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