Membership without Social Citizenship? Deservingness and Redistribution as Grounds for Equality
Daedalus: Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Science 148 (3), Forthcoming
Posted: 6 May 2019 Last revised: 20 May 2019
Date Written: 2019
This paper explores processes by which a broadening of legal, social and cultural membership in Western societies appears to be accompanied by a reduction in the social rights of citizenship, in part due to harsher judgements concerning the deservingness of low-income populations. As more diverse groups are extended formal national membership, fewer individuals appear deserving of social rights such as welfare redistribution. Why is this the case? Some explain this decline in solidarity as a simple, even mechanical response to growing diversity. We offer alternative approaches to understanding these tensions, and pathways for promoting inclusive membership and broad social rights. We do so by drawing on the analytical tools of four distinct fields that are rarely in dialogue, proposing that positive social change may emerge from (1) solidarity, explored by normative political theorists; (2) group identity and distributive justice, a focus for social psychologists; (3) boundary drawing and destigmatization, as analyzed by cultural sociologists; and (4) contestation and social movements, studied by political sociologists and political scientists.
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