We can be equal and different by becoming citizens and supporting others to achieve citizenship. This model was developed to set out the key elements of citizenship.
Simon Duffy's book Keys to Citizenship describes how we can achieve citizenship in practice. Although the book focuses on people with learning difficulties it is a framework which applies to all of us.
Citizenship is a funny word - and it can have several meanings - but it is a useful word, because it can be used to describe how human beings can live together - with justice and mutual respect. Citizenship means:
Citizenship is important because it reminds us that we can each live a good life, in our own way, while also being able to live together with mutual respect. Citizenship means rejecting the idea that people’s worth can be measured by money, power, fame, intelligence or any of the other ways that make people different and which some people imagine define ‘what is important’.
Of course this an ideal, and citizenship is not achieved by simply talking about it, wishing it or even demanding it (although all these things may help). Citizenship is something we build - together - for each other.
And there are real ways of achieving citizenship:
Citizenship is not dead, but it is flourishing - we are somewhere in between. But it is certainly not true that citizenship means nothing to people with learning difficulties. Meeting with a group of people with learning difficulties recently in Derbyshire it was very clear that people knew what it meant to be respected and they knew very well what it meant to contribute to community.
We looked at many aspects of community life together:
It would be good to get 20 out of 20 on all these questions. But this may not be possible and I am sure many people who don’t have learning difficulties would also struggle to say yes to every question.
It’s also clear that many people were limited by factors that we could do something about: poverty, benefit traps, social isolation or lack of appropriate support. These are all things we can also do something about - although some problems are more difficult to solve than others.
But perhaps the most important thing, the thing which costs nothing, is to start thinking and talking about citizenship. If we aren’t raising our own expectations and the expectations of those around us - or if we are accepting the emptiness of fame, money or power as the meaning of life - then we are not just putting the lives of people with learning difficulties at risk. We are demeaning ourselves.
The 2nd Edition of Keys to Citizenship is available to purchase here.
The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.
Innovation: Keys to Citizenship © Simon Duffy 2010.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.
The Keys to Citizenship was a model developed to explain the practical steps that are necessary to achieve meaningful, everyday citizenship.
Simon Duffy and Wendy Perez have written this accessible guide to citizenship - what it means and how to achieve it. This guide is part of the Citizenship for All project.
Sam Sly describes where the Keys to Citizenship came from and how they've changed over time.
Dr Simon Duffy presented these slides at the Annual Conference for the Masters in Public Administration at the Catholic University of Porto in May 2011.
Wendy Perez and Simon Duffy talk about how they are trying to improve the Keys to Citizenship as a model that works for everyone
Simon Duffy describes the 7 keys to achieving citizenship in practice for everyone.