Inclusion;Project citizenship

22nd October 1999 at 01:00
Gerald Haigh explores what it means to have a say in how society is run

Ancient Greece

The word "democracy" is made from two Greek words - demos meaning the people and kratia meaning rule - so it means "rule by the people".

In the City State of Athens (which had a democratic constitution from 508BC) and the surrounding area, all citizens could vote for what their country was going to do. That sounds very fair - except that lots of people weren't citizens. Among the people who were not citizens were women, slaves, foreigners and children.

What does it feel like to be treated differently from other people? To find out, try having a c lass vote in which only citizens are allowed to vote - but first you must decide who the citizens are.

THINK AND TALK

Throughout history, it's been quite common for words such as, "everyone", or "the people" to mean something less than you might think.

How often do people say, "everyone" or "everybody" just because it suits them, and not because it is actually true? Think about these sayings - you might have used some of them.

* Everybody likes him.

* Everybody dislikes him.

* Everybody goes on holiday in August.

* Everybody in this school likes chips.

* Everybody is making too much noise.

What might it feel like to be excluded? Try some experiments in class - have a class vote on where you would like to go for a school trip. But only let "citizens" vote. Decide with the teacher who can be citizens.

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