Edited by Sheila Shaver
Chapter 2: Gender, social policy and the idea of the welfare state
Social policy presupposes the historical project of the welfare state so this must be true also of ‘gender and social policy’. The argument for the welfare state is guided by a political philosophy. T.H. Marshall’s famous ‘Citizenship and social class’ offers an unrivalled clarification of this political philosophy which takes its normative point of departure from what he calls ‘the status of freedom’; the welfare state is a socialist elaboration of the republican form of institutional design where the state and the rule of law is the guarantor of the status of freedom. Market liberal institutional design is the adversary of welfare republicanism; it rejects the idea of the status of freedom. Feminist critics of Marshall have failed to appreciate the nature and significance of this core idea of the welfare state; they do not ask how their own normative position aligns (or not) with the idea of the status of freedom, and they fail to recognize what is at stake in the contest between socialist republican and neoliberal conceptions of institutional design.
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