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five - Citizenship, unemployment and welfare policy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 January 2022

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Summary

Citizenship has become a key concept in many fields of social science, from the analysis of social rights to normative political theory and empirical research on political participation and political culture (Andersen and Hoff, 2001). With such a broad scope of applications a variety of meanings inevitably follows (van Gunsteren, 1998). This problem is aggravated by the fact that precise definitions are often missing in the literature. Definitions tend to be replaced by vague notions that citizenship is about rights and duties – or about equality and empowerment, eligibility and entitlements, membership and participation, integration and civicness and so on. These are certainly some of the keywords, but they need to be arranged and spelled out more clearly. Furthermore, analytical and normative aspects of the concept often tend to be conflated. This chapter seeks to elaborate and clarify the concept of citizenship, to specify how it may be used in various fields of welfare research, and to discuss some of the advantages of phrasing research questions in the language of citizenship. Finally, it comments briefly on the notion of ‘active citizenship’.

Citizenship and what is it about

Unlike much research on citizenship, we do not conceive of citizenship as only a set of rights and duties. Of course, rights and duties are central aspects of any notion of citizenship. But we prefer to emphasise the dimension of practices. More specifically, practices include two further aspects: participation and orientations (sometimes labelled identities). This tripartition is in line with a Scandinavian tradition of democracy studies (Petersson et al, 1989; Andersen et al, 1993; Andersen and Hoff, 2001), but can be identified also in feminist research (Lister, 1997; Siim, 2000) as well as in research on social exclusion (Room, 1990, 1995; Berghman, 1995; Vleminckx and Berghman, 2001). It may be appropriate, however, to introduce yet another aspect: social conditions (material situation and psychological well-being), which may be conceived as an intervening variable between rights and participation.

Whereas rights and duties refer to institutions, social conditions, participation and orientations refer to outcomes. Thus, we speak of social rights not only as the embodiment of full citizenship, but also – and even more – as a determinant of full citizenship.

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The Changing Face of Welfare
Consequences and Outcomes from a Citizenship Perspective
, pp. 75 - 92
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2005

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