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Citizenship in Britain and Europe: some missing links in T.H. Marshall's theory of rights


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  • Harris, Jose
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    T.H. Marshall's reputation as an historian, social theorist, and practical interpreter of ideas about citizenship and welfare rights has probably never been higher than at the present time. Whether or not T. H. Marshall was 'right' or 'wrong' in his analysis of the questions raised in Citizenship and Social Class (1949), he has come to be seen as a key figure in sparking-off and mediating far-reaching new approaches to ideas about social welfare policy, citizenship laws, and fundamental social rights. Full discussion of Marshall's influence opens up some very large questions, going far beyond the scope of this paper. Here I want to focus on some curious historical gaps and unanswered questions in Marshalls Citizenship and Social Class-gaps that relate both to Marshall's account of the longer-term historical past and to contemporary movements in his own times. First, in a British context, I am puzzled by his narrative of the long-term evolution of citizenship and welfare rights, as these had developed from the 'early-modern' period through into the twentieth-century. And, secondly, in a wider European context, I am equally if not more puzzled by Marshall's relation to the massive debates about citizenship and rights of all kinds that was going on in Europe during the mid-to-late-1940s, at exactly the moment when he was preparing his Cambridge lectures on those same themes. -- Der Ruf von T.H. Marshall als Historiker, Gesellschaftstheoretiker und Deuter von Ideen über Bürgerrechte und soziale Klassen (1949) war wahrscheinlich nie besser als heute. Ob Marshalls Analyse in Bürgerrechte und soziale Klassen nun zutrifft oder nicht, er wird heute als einer der zentralen Denker gesehen, die unsere Ideen von Sozialpolitik, Bürgerschaft und grundlegenden sozialen Rechten angestoßen und gebündelt haben. Eine vollständige Diskussion von Marshalls Einfluss führte in eine Vielzahl großer Fragen hinein, die weit über dieses Papier hinausgehen würde. Hier möchte ich mich auf verschiedene auffällige historische Lücken und offene Fragen konzentrieren, die sich aus Bürgerrechte und soziale Klassen ergeben. Diese Lücken beziehen sich auf Marshalls Darstellung der langen historischen Wellen und auf die sozialen Bewegungen in seiner Gegenwart, also um 1949. Erstens, im britischen Zusammenhang gibt mir seine Erzählung der Langfristentwicklung von Bürgerrechten und sozialen Klassen wie sie sich von der frühen Neuzeit bis ins 20. Jahrhundert entwickelt haben, Fragen auf. Zweitens, in einem breiteren europäischen Zusammenhang frage ich besonders nach Marshalls Beziehungen zu den umfangreichen Diskussionen über Bürgerschaft und weitere Rechte aller Art, die im Europa der zweiten Hälfte der 40er Jahre stattgefunden haben, also genau zu dem Zeitpunkt als er seine Vorträge in Cambridge über diese Themen vorbereitete.

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    Paper provided by University of Bremen, Centre for Social Policy Research (ZeS) in its series Working papers of the ZeS with number 02/2010.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:zeswps:022010

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