Before and After the Economic Crisis
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Before and After the Economic Crisis

What Implications for the ‘European Social Model’?

Edited by Marie-Ange Moreau

This timely book casts new light on the key issues arising from the contentious debate around the future of the European Social Model. The book brings together leading experts to provide a thorough and well-informed response to the recent developments in European social and labour law and policy, in the light of institutional changes. The contributors provide unique insights as they evaluate the impact of the enlargement processes, the implications of the Lisbon treaty, the integration of the Charter into EU law – and, crucially, the consequences of the economic crisis.
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Chapter 8: Gender and ‘Plastic’ Citizenship in European Social Law

Anna-Maria Konsta


Anna-Maria Konsta INTRODUCTION This chapter offers a critical discussion of European social law from a gender perspective. The notion of plastic citizenship is developed. A process of transsubjectivation occurs in Foucaultian terms, which means a kind of transformation of the subject that can produce a new self. This transsubjectivation might be called plasticity. Plastic citizenship creates plastic subjectivities for women in Europe today. In order to prove this thesis, selected European Union social policy areas – such as multiple discrimination, working time and migration policy – are treated to critical discussion. The relevant legal framework constructs the unprivileged legal subject in Europe today. The unprivileged legal subject is the bearer of rights and obligations provided by the plastic citizenship notion; a citizenship that is fluid and flexible, it changes according to the interests and needs of the states involved in each lawmaking process. THEORETICAL CONTEXT Hannah Arendt (1951) defines citizenship as the right to have rights. Thus, citizenship is a prerequisite for the enjoyment of human rights (ibid.). The condition of the excluded is defined by Arendt as ‘statelessness’. And Sommers has established that today ‘statelessness’ does not mean only non-membership in a national community, but is applied also to the excluded (the poor, the unemployed), and that de jure citizenship does not automatically imply de facto citizenship (Sommers, 2008, 26–27). Giorgio Agamben makes the distinction between People (political body) and people (excluded bodies). The erasure of this division can restore humanity to those who are excluded and denied citizenship (Agamben,...

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