Activation and Labour Market Reforms in Europe: Challenges by S. Betzelt, S. Bothfeld

By S. Betzelt, S. Bothfeld

This e-book analyzes in what means activation rules effect on given styles of social citizenship that predominate in nationwide contexts. It argues that the liberal paradigm of activation brought into labour marketplace regulations in all Western eu states demanding situations the explicit styles of social citizenship in every one nation.

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In this respect the instrument of contract is an interesting example, with its more or less asymmetric character being most crucial, however, considering the power imbalance between the state and benefit-receiving citizens (see Kildal and Nilssen in this volume). A high degree of the citizen’s autonomy in this dimension would be reflected in spontaneous or deliberate, active or passive commitment to collective values and goods, even at the expense of the individual’s more obvious individual interests or needs.

1. The quality of social provision: Enabling and recognizing the individual The question of how citizens’ individuality can be addressed depends on the very quality of the provided benefits and services, and also on the regulation of employment. Quality here denotes the level of ‘generosity’ that is conceded to the citizens. It is not solely the level of protection of paid employment (by the regulation of wages, contracts and working conditions) but also the conditions of access and the level and the duration of benefit and service provision that are addressed.

3. Social rights and the argument of membership We think that the concept of social citizenship contributes a missing link to our problem, namely to provide categories to grasp ongoing change – as it points to the very political character of social policy, rights and membership. Quite early in the ‘golden age’ of the welfare state T. H. Marshall pointed to the very political character of social policy. Since then social rights have been considered to be a crucial precondition for citizens’ active participation in social and political life and, therefore, constitutive elements of an active and democratic society (Marshall, 1963).

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