Suffering from Suffrage: Welfare State Development and the Politics of Negative Conditionality

Thursday, July 13, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 253 (University of Glasgow)
Carsten Jensen , Aarhus University
Magnus Bergli Rasmussen , Department of Government, Aarhus University
David Delfs Erbo Andersen , Department of Political Science and Government, Aarhus University
Following the landmark essay of Marshall, Citizenship and the Social Class (1949), it has conventionally been assumed that the introduction and expansion of social rights in Europe happened as the final stage of a long process of democratization that included the granting of first civil and then political rights. We present a radically different perspective on the relationship between democratization, more precisely expanding suffrage, and social rights. First, in countries with an existing poor relief system, the primary effect of suffrage extension was to reduce public social spending, not expand it. Second, the way this retrenchment occurred was partly by creating a negative link between social rights, on the one hand, and civil and political rights, on the other. Enjoying one’s social rights often meant losing some or most of one’s civil or political rights; what we call democratic disqualification.  Well into the 20th century, it makes little sense to analyze social rights in isolation from civil and political rights.