Governing Risky Childhoods: How Neoliberal Governance Prescriptions Rule Out Social Rights in Israel

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In the neoliberal era, social rights of citizenship have come under attack. The social rights of citizenship, originally defined by Marshall (Marshall and Bottomore Reference Marshall, Marshall and Bottomore1992 [1950]), consist of a nexus of services and in-cash benefits distributed outside the realm of the market according to universal criteria. Central here is the potential for decommodification, in which citizens’ dependency on paid labor is reduced via redistribution based on politically defined criteria. This potential materializes to the fullest “if social rights are given the legal and practical status of property rights, if they are inviolable, and if they are granted on the basis of citizenship rather than performance” (Esping-Andersen Reference Esping-Andersen1990, 21). The literature highlights two main mechanisms that link neoliberalism with the deterioration of social rights. First, neoliberal ideology posits a model of self-sufficient citizenship that reframes entitlement as problematic as it encourages dependency. Securing social entitlements is wrong, ideologues argue, because it undermines individual responsibility and morality and produces perverse behavior (Guetzkow Reference 79Guetzkow2010; Somers and Block Reference Somers and Block2005). Conditioning entitlement to benefits under workfare programs by imposing market discipline on poor citizens is one conspicuous policy outcome (Peck Reference Peck2001; Wacquant Reference Wacquant2009). Second, political-economic constraints and associated TINA (“There Is No Alternative”) discourses posit that sustaining high welfare state expenditure under economic globalization is either undesirable or impossible, and leads to calls to retrench public provision. The consequent cutback of social expenditure and introduction of cost containment, including programmatic retrenchment in the form of gradual erosion of existing entitlements and toughening of eligibility criteria, reduce the decommodifying effect of social rights (Pierson Reference Pierson1994, Reference Pierson2001).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEconomic and Social Rights in a Neoliberal World
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781108284691
ISBN (Print)9781108418157
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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