We explain what civics is and some characteristics of this term. In addition, the importance it has in society.
What is a Civic?
The concept of civics is derived from that of a citizen, understood as a member of society who has reached a degree of social maturity sufficient to act by current regulations. In this way, it becomes an adjective that characterizes people who comply with a series of guidelines oriented toward good social coexistence within a community.
Dictionaries recognize it as an adjective and not as a noun. However, it can be heard as an abstract concept that alludes to the human conscience linked to respectful behavior with neighbors or with the institutions and interests of the country.
The expression “comply with civic duty,” used colloquially in Argentina to refer to the act of voting, expresses the importance assigned to suffrage in democracies.
In the same way, civic courage is the courage to fulfill those duties without fear of political reprisals, just as the civic crown is the one assigned in Ancient Rome to war heroes, or the civic book is a document that accredited the condition of citizens in some Latin American countries in the last century.
Family, tradition, and culture are fundamental to acquiring this civic culture. Still, at the same time, a formalization of this insertion in the sphere of life in society is needed.
Why is civic education important?
The existence of civic education in the fields of study is necessary, which transmits, at least, the values that children must acquire to be good citizens. This subject is compulsory in almost all countries in the case of secondary education and often also in the case of primary education.
Much has been theorized and based on civic education, with a great force of what is oriented to favor the recognition and respect of human rights as a way to establish values and ethically correct behaviors.
In this sense, from the first years of schooling, understanding people’s dignity, equality in diversity, freedoms, and responsibilities, and the characteristics of norms are insisted on.
Once this knowledge is consolidated, it will be time to consider the question of power, rights, the organization of States, democracy, and citizenship.
Once all this knowledge (more appropriately called “skills”) has been acquired, the most prosperous stage in the construction of a civic culture can begin, which is the one that allows it to be discussed and rethought: considering the validity of human rights, the role of States in that sense, the behavior of each and groups, and the currents of thought that are organized around it.
Civic education generated debate for a long time since some thinkers (such as Pierre Bourdieu) believe it only seeks to reproduce some social structures that deepen inequality without changing anything. In some European countries, where the youth is questioning the political class and expressing it through protests, it also demands an analysis of civic education and an eventual reformulation according to the needs of the youth.