Citizenship as a Communicative Construct

Oren Livio


In this article, I expand the research on “rhetorical citizenship” to develop the idea of citizenship as a communicative construct. I focus first on the construction of the right to speak and be heard meaningfully in the public sphere as a fundamental right of citizenship (which then becomes tied to other citizenship rights), and second on the ways in which the meanings of citizenship are constructed through communication. By examining Israeli discourse concerning the link between citizenship and military service, which is locally constructed as the epitome of civic participation, I explore how levels of citizenship are hierarchized through differential rights to communicate on matters considered “important” or “unimportant” and through a discursive separation between public and private communication. Critical implications for the relation between communication theory, citizenship, and democracy are discussed.


citizenship, communication, democracy, discourse, Israel, military service, participation

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