The age of responsibility: social policy and citizenship in the early 21st century<sup>1</sup>

Lister Ruth

in Social Policy Review 23

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9781847428301
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303503 | DOI:
The age of responsibility: social policy and citizenship in the early 21st century1

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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

Chapter.  8363 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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