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The construction of social rights

Dean, Hartley (2018) The construction of social rights. In: Pennings, Frans and Seeleib-Kaiser, Martin, (eds.) European Citizenship and Social Rights: Entitlements and Impediments to Accessing Welfare. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on EU Citizenship. Edward Edgar, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 228-252. ISBN 9781788112703

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It has been contended that the ‗social dimension‘ of the EU is ‗near collapse‘ and that we should take a ‗sober view‘ of the potential of European Social Citizenship.2 The original concept of European Citizenship was primarily relevant for those citizens who wish and are able to move between Member States, while its influence upon the substantive rights of settled citizens has been relatively secondary or, at least, indirect. But if there is to be a meaningful social dimension to European citizenship it must be transparently effective not only for the lives intra-Union migrants, but also for the lives of that vast majority of EU citizens who do not move about, but ‗stay at home‘.3 Social rights are, and will continue primarily to be, legislated for and administered at national level. Over the years EU Directives have certainly had some practical consequences for domestic social protection policies across Europe, but EU influence over the rights of European citizens is, as Barbier puts it, to ‗be indirectly observed, because of the growing power of EU economic law‘.4 The concept of ‗Social Europe‘ has been at best under-realised.5 This chapter is concerned with the underlying social meaning of social rights. It draws upon the findings of a recent study6 that sought to investigate the ways in which social rights have been and are now socially and ideologically constructed across Europe. To frame the discussion, we shall first consider the relationship between social rights and citizenship, before outlining a summary account of the two principal components of that study. The first provides a revisionary historical analysis of the development of social rights in a selection of European countries. The second offers a tentative analysis of contemporary social rights discourse among key policy actors in those countries. In light of the study, the chapter finally turns to consider the barriers to consensus regarding the fundamental meaning of European social citizenship

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 02 May 2019 13:45
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2021 01:38

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