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Social Policy Review 23Analysis and Debate in Social Policy, 2011$
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Chris Holden, Majella Kilkey, and Gaby Ramia

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847428301

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847428301.001.0001

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The age of responsibility: social policy and citizenship in the early 21st century1

The age of responsibility: social policy and citizenship in the early 21st century1

(p.63) Four The age of responsibility: social policy and citizenship in the early 21st century1
Social Policy Review 23

Lister Ruth

Policy Press

This chapter presents an analysis through the lens of citizenship. It outlines the dominant discourses of citizenship responsibility, discussing in particular how they have been articulated previously by New Labour governments, and currently by the Coalition government. It examines the ways in which social policy has been used to encourage or enforce responsibilities and obligations. It develops a key critique that the responsibilisation agenda has been directed overwhelmingly at the poorest and least powerful in society through the increasing conditionality, exclusivity and selectivity of social citizenship. It concludes that the Coalition government is continuing with this broad approach and also notes that some critical differences are already apparent. It observes that these include a greater hostility towards the state on the part of the Coalition, a position reflected in the absence of a discussion of the rights that might accompany the obligations of the citizenship.

Keywords:   citizenship, New Labour governments, Coalition government, social policy, responsibilisation agenda, conditionality, exclusivity, selectivity, social citizenship

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