In addition, Marshall’s initial three classes of rights have been supplemented by Turner (1993) with three more, all of which accentuate the “social” element of Marshall’s analysis. Firstly, Turner puts forward the idea of welfare rights, which go beyond Marshall’s notion of a modicum of economic welfare and security; Turner speaks of welfare rights involving “some principle of redistribution” and therefore have the capacity to promote an “egalitarian transformation of social hierarchies”. In other words, entitlements may go beyond the idea of rights within a given socio-political structure to include changes to that structure itself.
In the same way, Marshall is criticised for not dealing with economic rights; in particular the power that accrues to workers where they enjoy the right of controlling the enterprises in which they are employed. Lastly, Turner proposes (with the help of Parsons’ idea of cultural citizenship (Parsons, 1971, 1966) the idea of educational rights, which are said to be necessary in order that people may “participate in the complex culture of a particular society”.
It is important to note that there have been important changes to the way in which citizenship is viewed since Marshall’s theory, and hence his writings’ relevance has become questionable. Firstly, there were large changes with New Labour and its “Third Way” in 1997. This concerned a different way of looking at citizenship as they wanted to mix rights and responsibilities (Dwyer, 2000). Tony Blair believed in responsibilities, whereas old Labour believed in rights, so a mixture of the two approaches was undertaken. For example, quite simply, if you didn’t act responsibly, the government would reduce your rights; i.e. the unemployed aged between 18 and 25 were offered a number of options- they could go on to higher education, work for a voluntary task force or do training. If an individual refused to take up these options, they would receive no benefits, this is what is known as “Making work Pay”; a well known New Labour policy. This is another example of a change to the view of citizenship; in that recent society has seen a greater level of spending on not only benefits and rights, but New Labour have also increased spending on education on citizenship. Citizenship is now not only a topic taught to schoolchildren in modern day Britain, but is also advertised to all in society via marketing schemes which put across the idea of citizenship, one’s rights and even “how to be a good citizen” ( Lavalette and Pratt, 2001, www.citizen.org.uk )
At the time of writing, the society to which Marshall was applying his theories did not encompass rights and responsibilities for women. This was for a number of reasons, firstly, women were not as large a part of the work force as they are now, and so their rights and responsibilities were not as prominent as they are in today’s welfare state. They also did not have such a prolific status as men, or as they do now. This therefore proves Marshall’s concept to be less relevant nowadays than at the time of writing. Gender role changes which have occurred over time have led to a different view on citizenship and this has been catalysed by various policies undertaken by recent Governments, for example child benefit, free care for working mother’s children and a general move towards greater acknowledgement and justice of/for women. As previously mentioned, Marshall’s definition of citizenship speaks of, “All who possess the status are equal with respect to the rights and duties with which the status is endowed” (Marshall, 1963), therefore as women are recognised in society as much more important and vital citizens their status and therefore rights increase. This has proven to be a great change in the way citizenship is viewed. In other words, Marshall’s conception of citizenship was based on a welfare state which discriminated against women. Recent commentators and feminist critics of welfare and citizenship have shown that assumptions of the British welfare state have been that the public area of work and politics is dominated, if not entirely filled by men, this clearly is not the case now. Having said this to a certain extent Marshall’s concept is still relatively relevant, as social citizenship in Britain is still largely dominated by men, as discrimination does occur, yet on a lesser level.
It should also be noted that Marshall believes that social rights and civil rights can coexist in liberal society, yet recent commentators such as Barbalet (1988) and Hay (1996) have argued that the problem with this theory is that in a capitalist society, civil rights and social rights are inherently contradictory ( Faulks, 1998). This can therefore make social rights vulnerable in times of recession, which Marshall did not take into account.
As class differences in terms of culture in British society have become greater over time, Marshall’s concept underestimates the extent to which class and culture division is reflected in the unequal distribution of what Bordieu has called cultural capital (Bourdieu and Passeron, 1997). In other words; the possession of cultural resources necessary to make effective use of citizenship rights.
As can be seen, Marshall’s thesis has a strong evolutionary element to it. It appears that he assumes that the three types of citizenship progress through time, remaining unchanged. Two major critics of this area of Marshall’s concept, Anthony Giddens (1985) and Michael Mann (1987) have pointed out the previously stated problem. According to Giddens, Marshall writes as if citizenship grows according to some inevitable inner logic of modernity; class struggle is hinted at by Marshall, but not really developed as a theory of social change (Faulks 1998). He failed to consider how future governments and societies would be willing to accept the inevitable cost of social rights, citizenship itself is never static but is dependant upon complex processes of social and economic change.
It can therefore be said that Marshall’s concept of citizenship bears a certain relevance to present day society and welfare state, yet many key features of his theory are no longer relevant, for example the role of women in work markets. Due to evolution of society, his thesis is less relevant due to the need for further rights, for example welfare rights, involving a certain level of redistribution, as put forward by Turner (1993). Yet the core of his concept, the key factors concerning citizenship are still relevant, and are possible to be applied to present day citizenship, yet for his writing to be fully relevant, additions and modifications need to be made.
In conclusion, the concept of citizenship put forward by Marshall is the building block, the foundation for other theories to be cemented upon as time, society and citizenship itself evolves. This is still relevant to a certain extent, yet with changes in gender roles, governments (i.e. New Deal ), and increasing differences in culture and class (among other factors), his theory cannot be applied directly and correctly to today’s welfare state.
Barbalet, J.M (1993) Citizenship, Class Inequality and Resentment in
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Drake, R. F. (2001) The Principles of Social Policy
Dwyer, P. (2000) Welfare rights and Responsibilities
Faulks, K. (1998) Citizenship in Modern Britain
Giddens, A. (1985) The Nation-State and Violence
Hay, C. (1996) Re-Stating Social and Political Change
Hill, M. (1996) Social Policy- A Comparative Analysis
Lavalette, M. and Pratt, A. (2001) Social Policy
Lister, R (1997) Citizenship: Feminist Perspectives
Mann, M. (1987) Ruling Class Strategies and Citizenship, cited in Faulks, K. (1998) Citizenship in Modern Britain
Marshall, T. H. (1963) Citizenship and Social Class
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Parson, T. (1971) The System of Modern Societies
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visited on 28/12/03