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Title: The limits of liberal citizenship in modern Britain
Author: Faulks, Keith
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 1997
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This thesis aims to develop a critique of liberal notions of citizenship as they have been applied in modern Britain. It will be argued that liberal theories of citizenship are inherently abstract, elitist and exclusive. This is because of their essentially dualistic assumptions concerning the relationship between individuals, the state and civil society. These flaws will be explored through a theoretical analysis of classical, social and neo-liberal concepts of citizenship and via a detailed case study of the limitations of liberal citizenship in practice, as defined by the Thatcherite governments of 1979-1996. It will be argued that Thatcherism represents an assertion of neo-liberal concepts of citizenship that privileges personal duty and 'market rights' such as property ownership, over social and political rights. The thesis will attempt to show how Thatcherism, as a liberal approach to citizenship, fails to deliver the liberal promise of liberty, personal autonomy and security. Thatcherism has resulted in increased social division, social disorder and an impoverished conception of citizenship for all citizens. The implicit division in liberal citizenship theory between 'active' and 'passive' citizens is made explicit in Thatcherism. This thesis will analyse a selection of policies that have emphasised this division. The evolutionary nature of citizenship inherent in the liberal approach will also be shown to be false. It will be argued that the development of citizenship has to be understood in terms of the complex relationship between the state, the economy and social change. Therefore, the thesis will attempt to develop a more sophisticated theory for understanding how citizenship has developed in Britain. It will also be argued that a truly inclusive and meaningful concept of citizenship must look beyond the limits of liberal theory and the liberal state.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available