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The Poverty and Riches of Social Citizenship in the UK: how lived experiences affect attitudes towards welfare, rights and responsibilities

Edmiston, Daniel David (2015) The Poverty and Riches of Social Citizenship in the UK: how lived experiences affect attitudes towards welfare, rights and responsibilities. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The civil-political character of citizenship makes the attitudes and experiences of citizens central to an effective examination of social citizenship and inequality. With this in mind, this thesis explores the differing ways in which those marginalised and validated by the existing citizenship configuration, negotiate the institutions and ideals that have come to structure welfare and inequality. The thesis draws on secondary quantitative data analysis of a large-scale national survey and qualitative interviews undertaken in a Northern city of England. To examine the ‘divergent discourses and practices of poor and better-off citizens’ (Jordan and Redley, 1994: 156), the attitudes and experiences of two distinct groups are explored: employed individuals living in affluent areas on an income well above the national average, and unemployed individuals living in deprived areas below the relative poverty line. Through a structured dialogue about their experiences, attitudes and behaviours, this thesis examines the everyday language, ideals and practices that underpin social citizenship, welfare and inequality. The findings of this study confirm that the topographies of social citizenship are reflected in the attitudes and identities of those experiencing deprivation and affluence. Lived experiences of inequality generate unique forms of knowledge about the relationship between structure and agency. This appears to inform conceptions of social citizenship, in particular attitudes towards welfare, rights and responsibilities. The fixed fragmentation of social politics has benefited those validated by the prevailing citizenship paradigm. Those able and desiring to proactively engage can alter the terms of citizenship in ways that serve their material and discursive ends. By contrast, lived experiences of deprivation tend to lead to defensive forms of (dis-) engagement without challenging the existing socio-political settlement. The findings of this thesis are considered with respect to their significance for social policy design and delivery as well as the character of public deliberation surrounding inequality.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Social Citizenship, Inequality, Welfare, Policy, Attitudes
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Depositing User: Mr Daniel Edmiston
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2015 12:15
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 12:15
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10717

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