Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Citizenship, Renaissance

  • Guy LurieEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_601-1


In the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries, civic conceptions and practices flourished in Western and Central Europe, beginning in northern Italy but later in other places, including France, Flanders, Spain, England, and Poland-Lithuania. Classical influences and political reality saw the rise of a Republican political sense of citizenship, i.e., a conceptualization of elites as engaged in self-rule of their independent political community, called a civitas, a republic, or a commonwealth (which could be a town, a region, a kingdom, or the Church). As such, Republicanism emphasized Classical civic traditions and historical awareness, and it manifested itself in elites’ conceptions of politics and in forms of political practice and rhetoric. As part of this process, political identity grew more attached to these political communities. Elites developed ethics of good citizenship, based on the active participation and contribution to the political community of armed citizens and an unequal conception of citizenship that excluded people outside the elites. Jurists legally elaborated citizenship through the formalization of rules on who was or was not part of the political community, how citizenship was gained, and what the grades of civic status were. The sixteenth century saw a transformation of citizenship as the state began its long and gradual process of monopolizing it.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Israel Democracy InstituteJerusalemIsrael

Section editors and affiliations

  • David A. Lines
    • 1
  1. 1.Italian Studies, School of Modern Languages and CulturesUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK