• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What are the main features of Marshall's theory of citizenship?

Extracts from this document...


What are the main features of Marshall's theory of citizenship? T. H. Marshall's theory of citizenship is the most recent theoretical model developed in the 1950s. He elaborated his ideas around the three rights elements, civil, political and social rights. He argued for equality of status rather than that due to the labour market. Along with all theories Marshall did not go without criticism, I will conclude with some of these criticisms and focus on the contemporary problems of citizenship. Prior to explaining Marshall's definition of citizenship, more general explanations can be offered. Citizenship refers to the position of being a citizen, and the collection of rights and duties of this position. These rights define the socio-political membership with the consequence of allocation of collective benefits to the social groups, households and individuals. Citizenship therefore comprises the individuals as fully- fledged members of a socio- political community, whether it is an inhabitant of a city or as a native. This provides the individual with access to limited resources, supplying social or legal protection from unexpected uncertainties of the market place and related life-cycle disadvantages. Within the modern society citizenship creates new types of social solidarity in term of public relations of the exchanging of possessions with others for mutual benefit; this establishes new intergenerational bonds of loyalty and obligation outside the family. ...read more.


The third element is that of social citizenship. Marshall identifies this final element as being the individual's independent access to the basic social goods provided by the community to its members. Therefore the access to welfare benefits, the range of welfare services from education to medical treatment form part of this third element. Marshall gave a celebratory lecture in 1949 to the establishment of the British welfare state. A state he declares 'gives concrete application to these social rights'. He believed the modern state now cared for the individual, representing them. The social rights ensured equality of opportunity to education, the medical and welfare services. Marshall thought the procession of all three of these elements of rights a guarantee of formal equality, a formal equality that puts an end to the inequalities of class and status formed by the capitalist society. Marshall argues that in English legal and political life these three stages formed by a gradual sequential development. The development of civil rights marked the distinction between a feudal society to one of independent, leading to equal persons. Once this was attained, the next move was towards universal suffrage and political participation by all, including the ability to fully exercise those political rights and obligations. This structure then sets the path towards his third stage, social citizenship, and a welfare state where all citizens are able to enjoy the protections of the society in which they live. ...read more.


Therefore the evolution implied in Marshall's plan is, as Mann believes an illusion; 'Sociologists are prone to forget that "evolution" is often geopolitically assisted'. Ralph Dahrendorf deals with Marshall's central theme of the significance of class in a stage where citizenship has conferred one universal equality of status on all citizens. He combines Marxian notions of class conflict with Marshall's theory, seeing the relationship between citizenship and social class in terms of a broader 'struggle for life chances.' Using Marshall's account of the progression of national citizenship to join the normative debate on the uses of nationalism, he argues that: "Historically at least, the nation-state was as much a necessary condition of progress as it unfortunately turned out to be a source of regression and inhumanity. The alliance of nationalism and liberalism was a force for emancipation"(Bulmer and Rees, 1996, p. 29). Nationality and citizenship were are entangled for Dahrendorf as the only advantage of the nation state he saw was that it made generalisations of the ancient idea of citizenship. The problem of Marshall's work is noticeably the vagueness to the status of the theoretical idea. The three stage model of civil, political and social rights could be questioned for concentrating too heavily on the rights and not the responsibilities. Marshall's work, whilst being informative for the modern phase in English national history it is no longer transforming for the current globalising, fragmenting world. Marshall's theory vague even in his time is now even harder to maintain. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Social Theory section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Social Theory essays

  1. A Critique of New Social Movement Theory.

    an "incremental transformation" in the very nature of society itself, and more of a "jagged rhythm." How might this alternative be framed? Firstly, consider the following description of employer-worker relations: there was "by and large a ... truce, maintained by a system of collective wage agreements concluded between the centralized unions and the ever more centralized industrial capital."

  2. To what extent, therefore, has current Labour Government Policy successful tackled the issue of ...

    * 10% of these households are estimated as repeat homelessness cases. Temporary Accommodation: * Nearly 50% of the households accepted as homeless were placed in temporary accommodation. * On 30 September 2003, there were 93,930 households living in temporary accommodation (an increase of 10% compared to the same date in 2002).

  1. Modern Political Thought.

    Pufendorf offers an account of how we consent to private property as a way of preserving ourselves and in so doing we create a state in which we are given the force and protection of private rights. This for Rousseau involves the institutionalisation of inequality and it does so for two reasons 1.

  2. The Limits of Post Modern Theory

    of production which allow for greater flexibility of both production processes and commodities; as well as greater mobility of capital and production bases. Similarly capital accumulation has transferred from large scale investment in infrastructural and capital projects to much more flexible forms of accumulation; share speculation etc.

  1. Theories of Rights. John Rawls, one of the most celebrated contemporary philosophers, puts ...

    The first difficultly, pointed out by Wolff (1977: 66), is that, 'unless we specify exactly how much the veil of ignorance obscures and how much it leaves available to the occupants of the original position, we shall be unable to deduce anything at all about their reasoning processes'.

  2. Critical Theory

    considered in relations to the specialized areas of activity in which they may arise. Then, critical theory asks how order can come about? It does not take institutions and social power relations for granted but calls them into question by concerning itself with their origins and how and whether they might be in the process of changing (Berlant, 2004).

  1. The ethnic minority population of the United Kingdom has increased at a tremendous rate ...

    Furthermore, whilst Mohammed dismisses the tone of the infamous 'Tebbit Test' as 'stupid', he says such questions might be more relevant now: 'At the end of the day, your heart and soul must be where you're born and bred and where you're going to live all of your life.

  2. To critically discuss the claim that citizenship is a contested and fluid concept, this ...

    Within Marshall's model, social class is implicated as a conflict of opposing principles to citizenship which he famously describes as being at war (Crompton 1998). On the other hand social class is also highlighted to still have a function in providing incentive to effort and shaping of the distribution of power (Marshall, 1964 cited in Turner, 2001).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work