Contested Concepts in Gender and Social Politics

Contested Concepts in Gender and Social Politics

Edited by Barbara Hobson, Jane Lewis and Birte Siim

An important contribution to the current literature on gender and social politics, this book challenges mainstream thinking on welfare states, citizenship, family, work, and social policy. Contested Concepts in Gender and Social Politics analyses the corresponding shifts in political discourse, and the changes in socio-political configurations that mirror changing gender relations.

Chapter 2: Citizenship

Barbara Hobson and Ruth Lister

Subjects: development studies, family and gender policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, family and gender policy


Barbara Hobson and Ruth Lister INTRODUCTION Citizenship is a concept that is very much at the centre of policy debates within and across national borders, either explicitly or implicitly. This is particularly true in the European context, in which welfare states have recast and redefined notions of citizenship in an era of restructuring and retrenchment. Pivotal here have been both the shifting relationship between the rights and obligations of citizenship and questions of membership of national communities in an era of economic globalization, migration and increasingly multi-ethnic populations. These developments are reflected in a parallel outpouring of academic works, debating and contesting established notions of citizenship. In terms of both the policy debates and the academic critiques, we are living in what might be termed a postMarshallian age.1 Of all the keywords in this volume, citizenship is perhaps the one where the exclusion of women has been most firmly imprinted within its historical template. It is, thus, not surprising that there now exists a rich, multidisciplinary feminist literature that provides both a critique of and an alternative to this gender-biased template (see Voet, 1998 for an overview). In a growing number of cases, this literature locates gender within a broader analysis of diversity and social divisions, in developing an understanding of both the nature of citizenship as membership of a community and the patterns of inclusion and exclusion which shape that membership. This understanding identifies citizenship as ‘more than simply the formal relationship between an individual and...

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