2016 | 32(1) | 67-84
Article title

Discursive construction of local social citizenship — between claims of universal provision and demands of more civic duties

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The goal of this article is to analyse the manner in which social citizenship is constructed in local (municipal) political discourse. It analyses how in two Polish municipalities, vary- ing in terms of social policy expenditures level, council members attribute social rights (in a broad meaning) and civic duties to the inhabitants of the city and to local target populations. According to the main research hypothesis, the universalist narrative of social citizenship will dominate in the municipality with a more generous local social policy, whereas in the city with a more stringent social policy, discourse promoting conditionality in social policy will be more visible. Analysis of council sessions transcripts shows, however, that it is the city with a relatively generous social policy in which universalistic and paternalist narratives, as well as those promoting conditionality, coexist. The conclusion linked to social construction of target populations approach states that the more generous and complex local social policy is, the higher the variety of often contradictory discourse in social citizenship. The conclusion linked to social citizenship theories states that at the local level universalism and conditionality based on the idea of civic contribution coexist in communitarian narratives.
  • Institute of Social Policy, Warsaw University
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