Chapter

New Labour, citizenship and responsibility: family, community and the obscuring of social relations

Michael Orton

in The ethics of welfare

Published by Policy Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9781861345622
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303763 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781861345622.003.0010
New Labour, citizenship and responsibility: family, community and the obscuring of social relations

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This chapter concentrates on New Labour's ‘third way’ discourse of citizenship and responsibility in relation to family and community. It explores the issues of responsibility, family and community by drawing on a UK-based qualitative study of a very particular sample, a group characterised as ‘irresponsible citizens’. Although the primary focus of this chapter is on New Labour, their emphasis on responsibility forms the focus of this chapter as well. The first part of the chapter focuses on ‘family’. It examines New Labour's emphasis on responsibility in relation to family, contextualising this within the dominant paradigm and then drawing on the research. The second part of the chapter focuses on‘community’. The chapter then discusses the themes that emerged in the research in relation to both to family and community; issues about poverty and dependency, and dimensions of gender and care. It also examines whether New Labour's emphasis on responsibility obscures rather than sheds light on the understanding of the reality of the experience of family and community and on the nexus of responsibilities that exist between the state, family and community, particularly in the context of the shifts at the level of political economy that have taken place over the last 25 years. The chapter ends by drawing on the research to posit ideas for a discourse of citizenship that would speak to the experience of those in the study.

Keywords: New Labour; third way discourse; citizenship; responsibility; family; community; irresponsible citizens

Chapter.  8002 words. 

Subjects: Social Research and Statistics

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