The subversion of citizenship : new right conceptions of citizenship, Thatcherism, and the new politics
This research concerns the theory of citizenship, the new right's conceptions of citizenship, their influence on the Thatcher regime, and the contemporary left's reformulations of citizenship. Citizenship cannot be restricted to the social democratic orthodoxy, in particular the foundations supplied by T. H. Marshall. The new right developed powerful models of citizenship which offered alternative theoretical routes to 'universal membership', the key ethical notion at the heart of citizenship. However these were deficient in practical terms, leading to greater inequality and reduced genuine individual autonomy. Paradoxically, the new right's conceptions of citizenship were used ultimately to undermine full citizenship for all. These arguments are illustrated in four case studies of policy change under Thatcherism - the Education Reform Act 1988, the Community Charge, 'workfare' programmes, and Conservative rhetoric of active citizenship'. Despite their deficiencies, new right conceptions of citizenship found a better reception in the dominant political culture because their discourses on freedom and the market appeared more closely-aligned with common perceptions. Thatcherism and the new right are characterised as seeking to construct a rigid discursive order centring around the autonomy of the market, here termed the 'market society'. In response, the efforts of parts of the contemporary left to reformulate citizenship more astutely within the confines of the perceptions of the-dominant political culture are examined.