A Handbook of Comparative Social Policy, Second Edition
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A Handbook of Comparative Social Policy, Second Edition

Edited by Patricia Kennett

The current context of social policy is one in which many of the old certainties of the past have been eroded. The predominantly inward-looking, domestic preoccupation of social policy has made way for a more integrated, international and outward approach to analysis which looks beyond the boundaries of the state. It is in this context that this Handbook brings together the work of key commentators in the field of comparative analysis in order to provide comprehensive coverage of contemporary debates and issues in cross-national social policy research.
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Chapter 8: Gender, citizenship and welfare state regimes in the early twenty-first century: ‘incomplete revolution’ and/or gender equality ‘lost in translation’

Julia S. O’Connor


The objective of this chapter is to provide an overview of the broad dimensions of the debates on gender, citizenship and welfare state regimes, as they relate to one another, in the literature analysing redistribution and social service production and provision over the past couple of decades. All three are contested concepts and this is particularly true when they are considered in relationship to one another either jointly or in total. The chapter is presented in five sections, the first of which is concerned with the welfare state concept and the cross-national variation of welfare states. It points to the centrality of citizenship rights, especially social rights, in welfare state development. This is followed by a discussion of the gendered analysis of the citizenship as rights and citizenship as obligation traditions, arguing that they are complementary and that both are essential to a realistic and effective analysis of welfare states in terms of the quality of social rights and the bases of stratification on which they are structured. Section 3 focuses on the welfare state regime concept, which has been central to analysis of welfare states during the past two decades and has been the stimulus for highly informative debates on policy formation and outcomes.

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