Women's Changing Relations to the State and Citizenship: Caring and Intergenerational Relations in Globalizing Western Democracies *
McDaniel, Susan A., The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology
SOCIOLOGICAL DISCUSSIONS OF WOMEN'S changing relations to the state take place in three distinct literatures. The first is the large literature on women and the welfare state (Bakker, 1996; Benoit, 2000; Daly, 2000; Fraser, 1987; Knijin and Kremer, 1997; Lewis, 1997; O'Connor, Orloff and Shaver, 1999; Rice and Prince, 2000). Central themes include: the necessity for women of combining paid work with unpaid work at home and in communities (Armstrong and Armstrong, 2002; O'Connor, Orloff and Shaver, 1999), the structuring and restructuring of gendered relations and identities by the welfare state (Daly, 2000; Orloff, 1993; 1997), and diminishing state support for gender equity (see Brodsky and Day, 1998; Boyd and McDaniel, 1996). Key concerns in this literature are the erosion of women's individual and collective rights by multiple and conflicting demands placed on women and the loss of state investment in redistributive justice or diminished funding for women's social action groups. The second literature, newe r and thinner, focusses on citizenship. It is citizenship as process (Turner, 2001: 192), as exclusionary/inclusionary, as building and reconfiguring of entitlements and opportunities (Brodie, 1996), rather than the more static concern with institutionalized political rights. Themes emerging here are that traditional approaches to citizenship are not gender-neutral, thereby compromising women's social opportunities (see Benoit, 2000; Brodie, 1996; 1997; O'Connor, Orloff and Shaver, 1999; Voet, 1998), and that routes to effective citizenship, i.e., paid work, military participation, or being part of households/families, have been transformed in recent years by economic changes, technologies, and globalization, which particularly impact on women.
The nascent but growing literature on social cohesion is the third place where women's changing relations to the state are engaged (Jenson, 1998; OECD, 1997b; Stanley, 2002). This concept has recently become recognized as pivotal in sociology and in policy studies (Bernard, 1999; OECD, 1997b; Roche, 2000; Silver, 1998; Walby, 2000). The themes emergent here are that with rapid economic and technological changes and globalization, new social schisms have opened, as well as deepening marginalization. Key concerns are the ways in which relationality and connectedness are changing and the implications for civil society.
Contradictions and analytical openings for exploration of women's changing relations to states and to citizenship are created in superimposing the key themes and concerns of these disparate literatures. Three of these provide the basis for this analysis: 1) the degree to which the state can be protector and investor in women's rights or gains, if the state itself is shrinking and women's claims to citizenship rights per se or social welfare state entitlements matter less; 2) the contradiction between the gendered dismantling of welfare states and women's dramatic increases in paid work at the same time as more unpaid work is expected; and 3) the degree to which the deepening marginalization of women parallels growing concerns about social cohesion.
This article reflects on these contradictions along two previously underconceptualized vectors of contemporary social change: caring (care-giving and care receiving) and intergenerational relations. Specifically considered are the fragility of care in globalizing democracies and diminishing welfare states, and changes in socio-economic relations and structures among generations, in families and in societies, and how these texture women's changing relations to the state. Both are considered comparatively across select globalizing western democracies.
Caring and Intergenerational Relations as Core
Caring and intergenerational relations cut to the core processes of globalization and how women's relations to states are transforming. Globalizing markets, as well as the ideology of neoliberalism, give primacy to economic relations, with contracts and monetary exchanges valorized. The concepts of social relationality and the public good, epitomized by caring and intergenerational relations, are eclipsed. Relations outside the market, or challenging of social inequalities can be unseen (Armstrong and Armstrong, 2002; Brodie, 1997; Lewis, 1997). Care is taken for granted (Williams, 2001: 4) even if caring is the objective of society (Armstrong and Armstrong, 2002: 43). Yet, caring and generational relations sharply structure women's relations with both markets and states.
Gendered dimensions of economic restructuring worldwide have been extensively examined (see Armstrong, 1996; Bakker, 1996; Daly, 2000; Moghadam, 1994). O'Neill (1994: Preface, n.p.) notes: the economic crisis of the 1980s, and the type of stabilization and adjustment measures taken in response to it, have halted and even reversed the progress in health, nutrition, education and incomes which women had enjoyed in developing countries during the previous three decades. Similar reversals may be occurring in rapidly globalizing western democracies (Armstrong and Kits, 2001; Brodsky and Day, 1998; Pierson, 1999). "[M]arkets operate without recognizing that the unpaid work of reproduction and maintenance of human resources contributes to the realization of formal market relations" (Bakker, 1998: 2). Indeed, "Markets paradoxically require altruistic, collective behaviour on the part of women in the household in order to enable men to act individualistically in the market" (Gough, 2000: 16, emphasis added). Women's n ecessary, but invisible, contributions are made to the globalizing project through caring and intergenerational relations, yet these remain hidden in considerations of women's citizenship. The vision of globalization and neoliberalism as immutable forces permits them to masquerade as gender-neutral (Waring, 1996).
Shifting discourses on welfare states, on women's citizenship, and on social cohesion have become sites for creative sociological exploration (Brodie, 1997; Duncan, 2000; O'Connor, Orloff and Shaver, 1997; Orloff, 1993; 1997; Tilly, 1997; Voet, 1998; Walby, 1997). Citizenship has long been a core concept on which sociological analyses of welfare states have rested (Marshall, 1965; Benoit, 2000). State discourses and policy practices, premised on the promotion of social cohesion, are central to understanding how women's citizenship exists, transforms and connects with social structures, processes and changes. As the historic postwar pact between women and the state is rewritten, narratives of social rights and gender schisms, as well as the gendered politics of globalizing markets, become discernible.
Concepts of women's citizenship have widened to include the perplexing ubiquity of women's unpaid work, as well as sexual and reproductive work (at its core, intergenerational) (Orloff, 1993). Deep challenges are then posed for sociology; equity and globalization policies (Bakker, 1998; Benoit, 2000; Brown and Lauder, 2001; McDaniel, 1996; O'Connor, Orloff and Shaver, 1999; Williams, 2001; Walby, 1997). State policies shape gender relations at multiple levels, by extending state/market relations into families, by stratification that undervalues and hides women's unpaid work and, crucially for this paper, by suppressing the various ways citizenship is compromised for women who are embedded in domestic codes of caring. Bakker (1998) builds into macro-economic policies attention to the unpaid work of women, including, but not limited to, caring work. McDaniel (1996) reconciles women's agency and changing global power structures on the terrain of women's reproduction. Brown and Lauder (2001: 53, 92) point out the welfare state's extension of citizenship to include social and economic rights for men as workers and women as family, the two tethered through gendered families and policies that encourage women's simultaneous paid and unpaid work.
Select indicators for six western democracies reveal, in Table 1, the trends discussed above. In the mid-1980s to mid-1990s decade, five countries saw increases in paid work among mothers of young children. The exception is Sweden, which had by far the highest participation rates in both periods. Women's pay as a percentage of men's in the top five occupations dropped for the four countries for which comparable data exists. At the same time, the annual value of family allowances increased in all countries. Since Canada moved in 1993 to the Child Tax Benefit, we use Canada as the benchmark. More women are in the labour market, even mothers with young children, but are being defined by policy as mothers rather than workers. And despite the image of women's gains in labour markets, in relation to men they are experiencing losses in top jobs. Polarization is increasing in three countries (the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K.), decreasing in two (Australia and Canada), and staying about the same in the USA.
A comparison, in Table 2, of the National Action Plans of the Netherlands, Sweden and the U.K., the three European countries in which polarization is increasing, is revealing. All three focus on employability, but their starting positions and policy orientations differ, with Sweden emphasizing human capital development and equality of opportunity, the U.K. focussing on labour markets and the Netherlands striking a compromise between the two. In examining the policy pillars for each, these differences in approach are more vivid.
Having set the context in terms of both theory and trends, we now look at women's radically shifting relations to states in Western democracies as market relations become more dominant. In pushing beyond the metashifts of welfare states and into more personal territories such as caring and intergenerational relations, openings emerge for seeing women's engagement of citizenship in different but similar societies in the context of globalization. Within changes in social relations worldwide with globalization, instructive differences in women's citizenship emerge among Western democracies, differences with implications for women's opportunities, identities and agency.
The end of apartheid in South Africa, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of freely elected governments in eastern Europe led to optimism for the future of democracy Paralleling this has been a neoliberal ideology characterized by economic agendas and interests, the ascendance of transnational corporations together with consumerism and stakeholders, and the discourses of individualism and populist egalitarianism. O'Neill (1994: 91) observes that …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Women's Changing Relations to the State and Citizenship: Caring and Intergenerational Relations in Globalizing Western Democracies *. Contributors: McDaniel, Susan A. - Author. Journal title: The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology. Volume: 39. Issue: 2 Publication date: May 2002. Page number: 125+. © 1999 Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Assn. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.