Marshall's Theory Of Citizenship

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Thomas Humphrey is best known for his works on citizenship (1950) despite his early retirement from the field of academic research. Stemming from post World War II, his study of citizenship revolved around the rights and responsibilities bestowed on those who possessed full membership in a nation state. Marshall states that the elements of this membership are broken down into three areas which have developed chronilogically over centuries. He believed that civil rights came first which proposed to ensure freedom of speech, thought and faith, liberty of the person, the right to own property, to conclude valid contracts and the right to justice. Due to this movement towards individual rights, all other categories of rights would follow. Political…show more content…
The mobilisation of the working class and the amelioration of the working class sparked a ripple effect in terms of the rights of citizenship. Turner (2009) states that this is the core of Marshall's theory. The welfare services that emerged due to the amelioration of the conditions of the working class were key in the restructuring of the rights of citizens to adjust to the expanding capitalist system. Social institutions such as the education system provided a gateway to engage in the other areas of citizenship such as the political sphere as one needed to be educated in order to participate or stand for election. The previous consensus of elitist figures' exclusivity in the political arena was no longer the only option and the engagement of the working class in politics directly impacted the role of citizenship in the nation state. Other social institutions such as the courts of justice were also developed for the everyday man. However, Turner also states that capitalism and citizenship provides a contradictory relationship as citizenship is a status position that mitigates the negative effects of social class position with capitalist society. He notes that status entitlement can become a cause of status inequality and this is in particular an area which Marshall did not address in his theory of citizenship. As a framework, the three elements of Marshall's theory appear to be a utopian like structure but it must be noted that Marshall centered his citizenship theory around the majority of society and failed to include minorities and women in his thinking. The rights of citizenship, due to their involvement in capitalism were mainly directed at men and women an afterthought. The same can be said in relation to minorities but it is necessary to remind ourselves of the period in which Marshall concluded his
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