Renegotiating Social Citizenship in the Age of Devolution

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The period 2012 to 2016 saw important developments in the role of the United Kingdom's devolved legislatures in shaping the social rights of citizenship. Near-uniformity in social security is being eroded, with competences devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland proceeding with limited divergence from Great Britain. This turn to regionalism is linked with dissatisfaction with British government approaches. This article examines developments from a social citizenship perspective. Welfare state regionalism is a challenge to Marshall's perceived unitary view of citizenship. Yet, it is argued, moves towards divergence are driven by regional differences of perspective on citizens' social rights and reciprocal obligations in a way that emphasizes the continued relevance of Marshallian theory. The democratization of political rights gave birth to social rights in the early twentieth century; today, the regionalization of democratic citizenship enables alternative visions for social citizenship to be articulated and begin to shape welfare services at devolved level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-673
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number4
Early online date28 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Dec 2017


  • Social citizenship
  • devolution
  • welfare state
  • social security
  • social rights


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