WP9 Balancing Gender and Generational Citizenship
Discrepancies between civil, political, social and economic citizenship rights and obligations of European and non-European citizens as family members are multiple, within and among Member States, and between the EU and Members States. These discrepancies have important effects on family life, gender equality, young adults and vulnerable elderly people. In addition, in a tendency towards nativism and nationalism, the political discourse constructs a nostalgic ‘familiarism’ (Duyvendak, 2011) by fixing ‘appropriate’ ways of gender and generational relations that are inclusive, and by consequence exclusive in hindering citizens to move across borders. These two current tendencies are difficult to integrate. On the one hand, women, young adults, vulnerable elderly people and same-sex couples could so far rely on and benefit from EU’s regulations, guidelines and directives that stress gender equality, the right to move (Youth on the Move), the right to family life and reproductive rights, and patients’ rights to (health)care services. In many Member States, however, such claims are perverted by nationalistic politicians to exclude non-EU citizens by setting additional cultural and social criteria for gaining full citizenship (Lister et al., 2007; Siim, 2000). For that reason Siim suggests : ‘to integrate differences in the language of citizenship’ in a context of demobilisation of women’s social movements and increasing stress on ‘active citizenship’ (2000: 169). On the other hand, women, young adults and older people as family members with care responsibilities and care needs have to deal with the EU prioritisation of individualised market citizenship above social citizenship. Lewis (2001; 2004) points to the effects of the ‘adult worker model’ assuming life-long, full-time employment as a condition for benefits and pensions, and the consequences for women unable to meet this precondition. Knijn and Kremer (1997) addressed the omission to include the right to give and receive care as a citizenship right, and Bonoli (2005) stressed the limited political participation and representation of young people and its consequences for dealing with the new social risks of the post-industrial European knowledge industry. For young adults and even more so for young women, leaving the parental home and forming an autonomous household, finding a steady job and starting a family has become increasingly difficult (Knijn, 2012). Likewise, vulnerable elderly Europeans in need of care, again mainly women, struggle with poverty, lack of care facilities and therefore with a deficient citizenship status. Their care needs are increasingly fulfilled by migrant care workers from non-EU countries. These care workers in their turn lack all the citizenship rights that regularly employed people in the EU can take for granted (Lister et al., 2007; Da Roit, Le Bihan, Oesterle, 2008; Weicht, 2010).
Given this complicated and ambivalent picture, the main focus of WP9 is on family rights and obligations: how are these understood and which practices carry over generations in EU Member States and in diverse communities. Family law, social security, care and reproductive rights will be investigated as these domains show great diversity in the constitution and execution of citizenship rights between men and women, between the old and the young as family members, even more so if they do not live and work in their home country or are non-EU nationals. In turn, this diversity might affect the valuation of EU citizenship versus nationalism and nativism among populations, and at a political level. In each of these domains national social rights (WP6) might interfere with a) national rights and normative cultural values in other EU countries, b) economic rights of free movement (WP5) and civil and political rights (WP7 – 8).
Gender and generational interdependencies form a crucial framework for understanding the scope and character of the potential effects of EU citizenship. The latter relates directly to the assumption of citizens as free individuals exercising individual citizenship rights. However, the institutional, legal and cultural embedding of individual citizens as family members (both horizontally and vertically) in national social, political and legal systems may constitute an obstacle to exercising these individual rights. Mobile European citizens may experience discrepancies between institutional settings and culturally-defined, family-related civil, social and economic rights. The legal barriers for men and women, the old and the young have to do with clashes between rights and family-related institutional barriers (e.g. reproductive rights, the right to marriage and kin obligations in cash and care). So far, economic rights do not go together easily with social, political and civil rights for mobile youths, caring women – EU citizens and non-EU citizens – and elderly people in need of care. Differences between Member States in family law that until now have determined specific kinship rights and obligations are hard to cover at EU level, although they are debated in all Member States because of the greying population (natalism), increasing divorce and cohabitation rates (prioritising parenthood above partnership), delayed parenthood (reproductive rights), and – migrant – workers’ mobility (social protection, the right to family life). In this debate, various normative values in Member States are reflected, such as gay marriage, euthanasia, gender equality, the right to give and receive care. At a legal level, differences between Member States in their political, administrative and legal institutional setting of the family affect the opportunities and provisions for gender equality and intergenerational solidarity (Knijn and Komter, 2004).
WP9 therefore concentrates on the relationships between social, political, civil and economic citizenship rights of gendered and generationally-determined aspects of the family in four domains: 1) the intersection of (elderly) care and migration regimes, 2) gender equality as a focus point of nationalistic and nativist political discourse, 3) marriage and parenthood-related rights, and 4) the right to move for young Europeans. In addition, WP9 examines – in cooperation with WP6 – the awareness among European citizens as family members of their citizenship rights, and the effects of possible and feared a) European efforts to converge social, civil and economic rights for individual citizens versus national family rights and obligations, and b) European mobility on the rights and obligation of Member States’ citizens in the realm of family life. In doing so, family-related citizenship rights and mobile market citizenship will be studied in tandem in order to deliver new perspectives on balancing gender and generational relationships.
– Bonoli, G. (2007), ‘Time Matters. Postindustrialisation, New Social Risks, and Welfare State Adaptation in Advanced Industrial Democracies’, Comparative Political Studies, 40:495-520
– Da Roit, B., Le Bihan, B. and Oesterle, A. (2008), ‘Long term care policies in Italy, Austria and France: Variations in Cash-for-Care schemes’, in: Palier B. and Martin C. (eds.), Reforming the Bismarckian Welfare Systems (Oxford: Blackwell):117-135
– Duyvendak, J.W. (2011), The Politics of Home (Hampshire: Palgrave/MacMillan)
– Knijn, T. (ed.) (2012, in press), Work, Family Policy and the Transition to Adulthood. (Hampshire: Palgrave MacMillan)
– Knijn, T. and M. Kremer (1997), ‘Gender and the caring dimension of welfare states: toward inclusive citizenship’, Social Politics. International Studies in Gender, State and Society, 4: 328-361
– Knijn, T. and A. Komter (Eds.) (2004), Solidarity between the Sexes and the Generations. Transformations in Europe (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar)
– Lewis, J. (2001), ‘The decline of the male breadwinner model: implications for work and care’, Social Politics, 8: 152-170
– Lister, R., Williams F., Anttonen A., Bussemaker J., Gerhard U., Heinen J., Johansson S., Leira A., Siim B., Tobio C. (2007), Gendering Citizenship in Western Europe (Bristol: Policy Press)
– Siim, B. (2000), Gender and Citizenship. Politics and Agency in France, Britain and Denmark (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)
– Weicht, B (2010), ‘Embodying the ideal carer: the Austrian discourse on migrant carers’, International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, 5:17-52