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Social security for solo mothers in Swedish and EU law : on the constructions of normality and the boundaries of social citizenship

by Wennberg, Lena

Abstract (Summary)
Lena Wennberg, Social Security for Solo Mothers in Swedish and EU law. On the constructions of normality and the boundaries of social citizenship. Doctoral dissertation. English text. Iustus Förlag AB, 407 pp. Uppsala 2008. ISSN 1404-9198, ISBN 978-91-7678-704-5.Three separate studies brought together in this thesis serve the overarching purpose of revealing historical and context-dependent constructions of normality in social security law, and from that elucidating gender and power relations and processes of exclusion and inclusion in the Swedish welfare model. The feminist approach taken towards law rests on the understanding that the logic of separation segregates and makes invisible women’s life experiences in law. Gender equality in the formal sense is questioned. Each of the studies takes as its point of departure the disadvantaged position of solo mothers not only in the private but also in the public sphere of legislated social rights, and questions gender-insensitive critical positions in academic legal scholarship. A notion of gender as social practice is concerned with highlighting the dynamic and relational aspects of gender – a set of norms and relations embedded in social structure. The analytical concept of solo mothers and the concept of social citizenship constitute a theoretical framework for revealing the various aspects of gender and power in law that normatively and discursively take part in the construction of normality in the welfare model.Modernisation of national social protection, as part of the Lisbon strategy of the EU, is bound to exert normative pressure on national welfare models. In the opening study current legal regulation of social assistance for solo mothers in Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Danish law are compared and analysed. How the meaning of a social model and gender equality in the EU is understood, regulated, and articulated; the strategies that are used; and the social consequences these strategies and the meanings of EU law might have for social security law and for the position of solo mothers in a Swedish context, are unmasked and analysed in the second study. In the third study, normality in the Swedish welfare model over time is revealed in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the processes of exclusion and inclusion in the Swedish welfare model and to assess the boundaries of social citizenship in the Swedish welfare model at the present time.Constructions of normality in social security law, and hence the boundaries of social citizenship, are determined by statutory and discursive constructions about who is being included; what needs are to be ensured and how; what responsibilities should the state or the community have; and what individual rights and duties ought to exist. The ideological ideas underpinning the creation of a social model for Europe, which can be interpreted as ‘active citizenship’, seem inconsistent with social security as traditionally laid down in law in the Swedish model. The question is raised of whether the Swedish welfare model, challenged by the Europeanization of values, is in transition. Discussions concerning the welfare of individual persons today large extent have a liberal profile: participation, independence and free choice are articulated. Gendered inequality, however, still involves a material component. If welfare models do not take this into account, the prognosis can be seen as relative, if not absolute, poverty for women in general and solo mothers in particular.Keywords: EU law, Gender equality, Solo Mothers, Social citizenship, Social exclusion, Social inclusion, Social protection, Social security, Swedish law
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Umeå universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:LAW/JURISPRUDENCE; Rättsvetenskap

ISBN:978-91-7678-704-5

Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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