This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 320294


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