Democracy and Citzenship: A Counterintuitive Relationship Examined Through Ancient Athens and the Contemporary Crisis
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
ibid, politics, european, pericles, foreigners
Ancient Athens is often valued for being the birthplace of democracy, a form of government that is often believed to be “by the people, for the people.” With democracy came the emergence of citizenship. In ancient Athens, citizenship was created to outline the political community by defining who belonged to the community and who was excluded from it. Through time, as countries have been claiming they are becoming more democratic, more restrictions have been imposed. These restrictions have created boundaries, thus excluding individuals from citizenship status causing them to lose their rights and abilities, specifically in areas such as political participation and ownership, as well as how they and their contributions are viewed in society. This research studies ancient Athens through three leaders, Solon, Cleisthenes and Pericles, who played significant roles in the creation and development of democracy and citizenship. Classical Athenian citizenship is then compared to citizenship in modern Athens, with a particular comparison between resident aliens, or metics, from ancient times to the contemporary refugee crisis. I aim to understand how and why with more democracy, comes counterintuitive restrictions on citizenship and migrants. The second half of my thesis focuses on the contemporary refugee crisis and how the refugees themselves have been impacted by democracy and citizenship. With a specific focus on Greece’s political parties, as the country has been significantly impacted by the crisis, we are able to understand how Athens defines democracy and citizenship, as well as how the European Union defines them. This crisis is bigger than just one country. Legal changes and long term objectives need to be implemented if there is ever to be a resolution. The first step in dealing with this crisis is learning how we can better help the refugees who are fleeing violence and persecution, and figuring out how we can integrate them into European societies. Only then will we be able to get started on a long term goal, which would include trying to achieve peace in the countries they are fleeing from.
Mehta, Shivangi, "Democracy and Citzenship: A Counterintuitive Relationship Examined Through Ancient Athens and the Contemporary Crisis" (2016). Honors Theses. 184.
Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity Commons, Migration Studies Commons, Politics and Social Change Commons