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Contenu archivé le 2024-05-14

Culture and citizenship - nationalism and the emergence of political and social rights in Germany and Britain


This historical study investigates the role of nationalism in the emergence of social and political citizenship rights in Germany and Britain. Previous histories of citizenship have generally underestimated the role of nationalist sentiment - the sense of belonging to a superior group, unique on the basis of some cultural attribute. Whereas such accounts of the emergence of citizenship, (see Marshall 1950) have stressed the importance of class movements in the emergence of citizenship rights, most have downplayed the interplay between class and national identity over the same period. The same holds for analysts of gender and citizenship. That nationalism was a key aspect of the context in which women and the unpropertied made claims to citizenship rights, is clear, but the empirical work to examine exactly how this occurred remains to be done.
The study takes key moments in the emergence of rights, and traces, through content analysis of the debates surrounding them, the degree to which goups' claims to rights were dependent on the sense of belonging to a nation. In debates surrounding the extension of welfare rights in Britain after World War II, for instance, it was clear that arguments for extension of health rights were carried by the claim that the system would eventually pay for itself due to greater "national" productivity. In arguments for the extension of political rights for women, a key claim was that women should be considered equal members of the nation. I will use and extend my competence in sociological research methods, particularly in text analysis of propaganda. I will also extend my skills in historical writing, and in theories of historiography. The main benefit, however, will be to add another European case to my knowledge. Although I have long had an interest in Germany. a broad historical project of this nature will add to that knowledge, and assist me in my longer term project of grasping modem European history.

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