Living and loving the land ©Photo by Kelly Hofer
The girls in the photo are members of a Hutterite colony in Manitoba. As members of their colony, they are individuals with their own special qualities. They have their own hopes and dreams and unique way of being in the world. They also share an identity as Hutterites, with the values, beliefs, and traditions that are part of their collective identity.

You also have your own identity, an ever-changing product of your genetics and the outside factors that influence you throughout your life including the influences of the many communities to which you belong.

Throughout your social studies education, you have learned about the key concepts of identity and citizenship. You have learned that you have an individual identity and also an identity as a member of a collective. People do not live in isolation. They live in communities. As part of any community, people have not only an identity but also certain rights and responsibilities that accompany belonging to that community. As these Hutterite girls have responsibilities to their community, so do we all have obligations to our own communities, our nation, and our planet.

Citizenship happens where individual identity meets collective responsibility.

Specifically, what do we mean when we talk about citizenship? How are your actions as a citizen shaped by your ideology?

Dictionaries usually provide two definitions for citizenship:
  1. the legal status of being a citizen (that is, a legally recognized subject of a state)
  2. the social conduct or behaviour that comes with being a member of society including the duties and responsibilities that entails

Your ideas about what being a citizen means and what actions accompany belonging to your community, nation, and planet are determined by your beliefs about the world-your ideology. Your beliefs about the nature of human beings, how you see the past, how you interpret the present, and what you imagine for the future all shape your actions as a citizen. People with a strong belief in individualism may act one way while those with a strong belief in the principles of collectivism may act another.

Your actions are based not only on who you are but also on what you want the world to look like. 

Injustice, poverty, slavery, ignorance-these may be cured by reform or revolution. But men do not live only by fighting evils. They live by positive goals, individual and collective, a vast variety of them, seldom predictable, at times incompatible.

Isaiah Berlin

In this unit, you will explore the rights, roles, and responsibilities that accompany citizenship through a focus on the issue question:
How should my actions as a citizen be shaped by my ideology? 

This unit has two sections:

  1. Worldviews and Citizenship
  2. Taking Action