Conclusion: the activation of citizenship – transnationally negotiated

Thomas Pfister

in The Activation of Citizenship in Europe

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780719083310
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781781704653 | DOI:
Conclusion: the activation of citizenship – transnationally negotiated

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The first section of this concluding chapter demonstrates how changing practices of citizenship are entangled with the activation agenda. In particular, the paradigm’s increasing dominance implies new differentiated and individualised duties, a massive promise of access to societal resources, and only limited rights. Moreover, the activation agenda contributes to the broader trend to imagine citizens as rational individuals maximising their social capital and only linked by contractual relationships. This transformation also has crucial implications for the exclusionary element of citizenship. In however, citizens’ have very little chance to participate in the reforms and even less to participate in the surrounding conceptual debate. The second section argues that, in this context, the EEU can be seen as a specific process of political knowledge production where the concepts and conditions of adequate welfare policies and reforms – and thereby citizenship – have been negotiated in a transnational conceptual debate. Hence, the study points to an often-neglected dimension of politics: the politics of meaning making, which mostly precedes the formulation of actual policies. This politics has had negative outcomes with regard to the gender dimension of the transnational activation debate in the EU. Opening it to citizens’ participation and contestation would be a major step to promote equality and inclusive citizenship.

Keywords: Activation paradigm; Conceptual debate; Politics of meaning-making; Citizenship; Rights; Duties; Participation; Access; Gender equality; Inequality

Chapter.  10026 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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