- Kevin McCallum
Citizen vs denizen vs you tell me
At dictionary.com, I searched the word "citizen". Whereas its roots lie in community life, the primary definition has changed to be associated with nationalism. The word has always had a strong political flavour and its altered meaning is significant. To be a good citizen today is not the same thing as it once was. The word Civics, which pertains to the behaviour of citizens has been hijacked by association.
So where does this leave individuals who want to build self sustainable towns? If civics now means participation in national politics i.e. a trip to the ballot box every few years, what word is there for local-level civics?
The word "denizen" places an individual at a local scale. However, there is no political element to the word. So to be a "good denizen" is a meaningless phrase in any political sense. Therefore, a word to represent local-level civics cannot use denizen as its foundation.
So I ask you. What word would you create to describe the activity of an individual who participates in a local economy, contributes to local culture and has no inclination to rampant imperialism?