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

To critically discuss the claim that citizenship is a contested and fluid concept, this essay will examine how modern citizenship was revived by sociologist T.H Marshall (1950). The work of Lewis (1998) and Turner (2001) challenge Marshalls theory and

Extracts from this document...


"Critically discuss the claim that citizenship is a contested and fluid concept" To critically discuss the claim that citizenship is a contested and fluid concept, this essay will examine how modern citizenship was revived by sociologist T.H Marshall (1950). The work of Lewis (1998) and Turner (2001) challenge Marshall's theory and are important as they take into account dimensions of citizenship which Marshall's theory is lacking. Social changes which have taken place since along with the feminist perspective will also be discussed to highlight the contested nature of citizenship. To show that citizenship is a fluid concept, the New Right attack on the citizenship values envisaged by Marshall will be critically discussed. New Labours appropriation of citizenship shows a marked progression from the New Right as well as some similarities which will be considered. Finally, a conclusion will be drawn taking the above into account. Citizenship focuses on the relationship between the citizen, state and social welfare (Lewis, 1998) but "the meaning of citizenship is perennially the subject of contestation and it is through this process of contestation that the relationship between the citizen and the state is being continuously redefined" (Carr & Hartnett, 1996 cited in Lister 1998 p82). ...read more.


The obligations and responsibilities which today play a crucial part in the notion of citizenship are missing from his account. The lack of clarity in the concept of citizenship has allowed it to be appropriated by various political parties (Lister, 1998). There has been a shift from rights to an obligations based construction which shows its fluid nature. Thatcherism brought about a direct attack on the welfare rights as envisaged by Marshall. In the Conservatives eyes, the development of state intervention represented state socialism and a loss of freedom. This in turn created irresponsible societies who look to the state for support and provisions which they should be providing for themselves (Phillips, 1991). Liberal economic and political theories have therefore underpinned policies and reforms pursued during the Thatcher administration holding values of competitive individualism, a minimum state role and maximum market role (King, 1988). Through minimising state intervention and in the promotion of the private market, universal citizenship rights seem to have been eroded with responsibility and obligation taking their place (Alcock, 1989). The most important obligation here is the duty to work. John Moore, the social security secretary under Thatcher emphasised the work obligation of social security claimants. ...read more.


Marshall's work is an important starting point in understanding modern social citizenship but the social and political changes that have taken place since have significantly undermined his ideas. Social changes since the 1950's have highlighted tensions in citizenship such as inclusion and exclusion. These tensions however have given a powerful voice to those previously excluded in their fight for full citizenship rights and have had a considerable impact on citizenship as it is today. The varied adoption of the use of citizenship by the two main political parties has shown its fluid nature. It is also important to note that there is also some continuity between parties, dubbed the new consensus (Lister, 1998). New Labour and New Right both propagate the importance of rights and duties but New Labour have attempted to expand on opportunities to help people to fulfil their obligations. These factors force citizenship to be a fluid concept as there is no single accepted definition. As proposed in the Comit´┐Ż des Sages (1996, p13 cited in Lister, 1998) a nation state "must have a clear statement of the citizenship it is offering to its members". Without a clear, unambiguous statement, citizenship will continue to be re-defined as further changes take place on a national and global level. ...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. Discuss Marx's Theory of Value by Focusing on Abstract and Concrete Labour.

    The social need of the product is determined, in this case, by the demand and supply markets. If the technology in a particular area rapidly improves, the total output produced by that area will increase, the cost of production and the human labour that has gone into production, will both

  2. Outline the main arguments of Rostow and state whether his theory remains useful for ...

    If the 'closing of the gap' cannot be easily achieved by the performance of an established theory, such as seems to be the case with modernisation, then it is clearly not a comprehensive cure for the problem of development. (Foster-Carter, 1985)

  1. To understand the significance of Marxist concept of class we would be briefly introduced ...

    of the existing social order would disagree on the ground that such antagonism could be elevated through ngotiation better provision for workers etc. But for this instance to understand the nature of relationship that exists in this ethnography it appears application of Marxist concept does give a more satisfying evaluation.

  2. Unravel the underlying principles in moka-exchange, and in the bridewealth-exchange amongst the Nuer of ...

    A further explanation of why people give is that 'what creates the obligation to give is that giving creates obligations' (Godelier, 1999: p. 11). A gift giving can form a state of inequality, or sometimes a hierarchy, in which previous state of equality transforms into the gift-giver's superiority over the

  1. In the light of experience since 1998 does it appear that the Anti-Social Behaviour ...

    much support from Home Office findings which state that there are 16'excessive delays at all stages of the application process.' Excessive bureaucracy and the consequent delays must therefore be regarded as a key reason for the ASBO's limited impact since its introduction in 1998.

  2. Chaos Theory: A Modern Revelation.

    James Gleick furthers the description and states that Lorenz then left to take a short break, and when he returned, what he discovered from the diverging results meant not only that long-range weather forecasting was out of business, but also that a new science was emerging (17).

  1. In this essay, I will examine the subject of celebrity culture, and discuss the ...

    And of course, this marked the point where society moved from feudalism toward capitalism and the beginning of the period known as modernity. Modern methods of communication and the rise of the mass media, have since facilitated the means by which the celebrity construct is consumed by modern society.

  2. Durkheims Concept of Social Facts and their Significance within his Work

    Social facts are facts of collective mental life; this is a form of collective representation of the social group also known as ?collective consciousness?. This is particularly significant to Durkheim?s study Elementary Forms of Religious Life (Durkheim, 1912, as cited in Hughes et al, 2010), in which the tribes collectively worshipped Totems.

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