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Democracy is a system of government. The citizens (electorate) exercise power directly or elect representatives from among themselves to form a governing body, such as a parliament.. Democracy is a system of outcomes depending on what voters do, but no single force controls what occurs and its outcomes. The uncertainty of outcomes is a key factor in democracy, which makes all forces struggle repeatedly for the realisation of their interests, being the devolution of power from a group of people to a set of rules. 

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The reading from the Guardian by W.R. Johnson, ‘Is democracy good for everyone?’ argues that democracies don’t fight each other, and that having a democratic state means that less mistakes will be made and will be more humane to the electorate. (W.R Johnson, 2017) The example used in this particular reading is that of how Churchill and Roosevelt made fewer mistakes than Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini did; this is because these three’s rule was more of an autocratic rule rather than democratic. The reading argues that having democracy improves on voter and leader maturity, as they focus on having to value the system of democracy rather than the result. It also talks about allowing egos of voters and leaders to grow and how they cannot bare to see their party criticised in the free press which is sometimes called an ‘illiberal democracy’. 

The second reading is Butler, J. (2016) ‘What is democracy’?. (J Butler, 2016) In this, Butler states that ‘these days it’s regarded as a political virtue, the quality which makes a state or an association or a party legitimate’. The reading also states that democracy could perhaps be seen as a deviant kind of political system and it doesn’t specifically state who can be part of the electorate, or how much power the government should actually be able to have. The term of democracy means that legitimacy comes from the people, that the idea of the people should include all of the people, and it’s about making the idea function is the way of running a state or a government.

The two reading offer two different viewpoints on what democracy can be seen as and how it can impact people of the electorate and their leaders. The difference between the first reading and the second, is that the first reading interprets democracy as a benefit rather than a hinderance as it states that it eradicates the chance for an autocratic state, and that leaders don’t make as many mistakes when they have the electorate behind them. The second reading is more of a scrutinising viewpoint as it delves into the facts of democracy doesn’t state who can and cannot vote, and how the limit to the governments power is not stated. 

Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory. and the history of social conflicts can be found in the history of each right and its development. According to the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, “rights structure the form of governments, the content of laws, and the shape of morality as it is currently perceived”.

The first reading I looked at for human rights is by David Kennedy, ‘The International human rights regime: Still part of the problem?’. In this reading, Kennedy discusses how the adoption of the universal declaration of human rights has a lot to celebrate (Kennedy, 2002). This is because the human rights movement has done a lot of good, for example freeing individuals from great harm, or raising the issue of catastrophic standards in prisons around the world. With it difficult to be dates, human rights became part of governmental practice not too long ago. It would be more accurate to speak of human rights as a ‘regime’ nowadays, as governments have adopted it and have departments for said rights. The reading also states about the fact of having ‘human right networks, human right courts, NGO’s, government bureaus…’ which could perhaps mean that human rights are used in everyday life without many people realising that they are being impacted on with said rights. 

The next reading I looked at for rights is ‘Stephen A. Brown, ‘The problem with Marx on rights’. This looks at the critical perspective of Karl Marx on human rights and how the ‘movement’ of rights could have a negative impact on an individual. The first and most important idea to bring up is that Marx distinguished two different ‘sets’ of rights (Brown, 2003). These are the rights of ‘Man, the private individual’, and the rights of ‘the citizen, a communal man whose life is lived independently with other members of that society’. The reading really focuses on the critique of ‘negative rights’. Negative rights are the right to non interference from others and the state. One of the main reasons why Marx had such a critical perspective of negative rights is because of one of his sayings of social life: “That human beings live not as separate individuals, somehow separated from other people, but rather live, work, achieve things together”. 

These readings both offer different perspectives on rights. To help better understand the subject of rights, an example such as right to democracy could be used. This means that every individual has a right to a fair system of government. Using the first reading to explain this, Kennedy’s reading would suggest that rights like these are of those which are celebrated about. However, using Brown’s reading of Marx’s critiques would suggest that because the of the right to democracy, and his critique of negative rights, would mean that Brown’s reading would perhaps support the right to democracy. 

Citizenship is the term used to describe the current status of a person, if recognised, as being a legal member of a sovereign state, or part of a country. It is possible for a person to have multiple citizenships, as they could be born in one country, yet claim residency in another. It is possible for an individual to not have citizenship in any country also. Although the meanings of the words are similar, Nationality and Citizenship are not the same thing. Nationality is mostly used to denote an individuals membership to a nation or country. Citizenship is either found where an individual is born, or where the individual lives.

Citizenship is not simply the definition used to state where an individual is based in one country or another, it is a lot more than that. Citizenship is said to have three main parts; civil, social, and political. (H Marshall, 1950). The civil elements of citizenship are those in which rights factor in; the individual rights of liberty, speech, thought and faith, property, and justice. The political elements of citizenship are those of being able to participate in political power, as a member of a political authority. The social element is those of the right to “a modicum of economic welfare’. These three elements mean that even though an individual, living in their mother state or not, when granted citizenship, has the right to excessive their rights in a civl sense, as well as social and politically. 

Another reading I looked at was Michale Lister and Emily Pia, ‘Citizenship in Contemporary Europe’. Citizenship is seen as a typically liberal ideology. “The individual is not a product of his or hers society, but rather produces that society”. Citizenship is suggested to allow individual to do what they please, as long as they respect other citizens rights, and are not breaking the law. For liberal citizenship, the individual becomes a member of the political community through the granting of universal rights which secure for the individual the freedom to life, liberty and property. (Lister and Pai, 2008)

An example of citizenship would be having the same access to rights, freedoms, and liberties that any other member of a state would have. Also, having the same laws and necessities that citizens are obliged to carry out such as paying taxes and registering to vote are required. The two readings are almost complimentary of each other when looking at citizenship. For citizenship, there isn’t many negative issues toward it. There are rather many positives when looking at citizenship, as it allows an individual to be treated fairly as any other citizen would in that country.