1. Who is a Citizen?
According to Aristotle, a citizen is a person who participates in the administration of justice and in legislation, as a member of the deliberative Assembly. A person cannot claim status of citizenship exclusively on following grounds:
1. Residence in a particular place.
2. Enjoyment on legal rights.
3. Descent from a citizen.
2. Criteria for Citizenship:
These three aspects could be considered for citizenship only if a person participates in administration of justice and legislation. In other words, a citizen must possess the essential attribute of ruling and being ruled, at the same time.
In his scheme, “leisure” remains an essential condition of citizenship because without it none can cultivate virtue and devote themselves to the affairs of the state.
Aristotle excludes women, old people and children from the category of citizens because they are intellectually inferior; physically unfit and politically immature.
1. Property qualification is exaggerated so as to neglect the poor and working classes.
2. Aristotelian citizenship is extremely limited to privileged few.
3. By making leisure an essential criterion for citizenship, he neglects the manual working class-people.
4. It is contrary to modern notion of Democracy premised on political equality.
5. His notion of citizenship is impracticable in modern states where status of power and privileges often cress-cross.
6. It is conservative and not progressive. It is more interested in conserving the prevailing state of affairs rather than change them.
Despite several shortcomings, one cannot deny that it was a first systematic effort to outline a scheme for establishing a relationship between the political community and its members. He offered a theory of citizenship which was primarily intended for the city state.