Social Rights, Citizenship and the Welfare State

Change in welfare states internationally continues to bring about upheaval in the social rights of citizenship and to fuel debate on the nature and enforcement of social rights in international law. Ongoing reforms to social security programmes in the name of “fairness” or “fiscal consolidation”, complications associated with a welfare state subject to devolution and localism, or debates on what it is to be a “citizen” eligible for support, all deal with these intersecting issues.

Social rights and welfare law are ideally suited to socio-legal exploration, being closely linked with political culture, welfare ideology, governance structures and economics as well as impacting on the lived reality of citizenship. This stream seeks to facilitate this exploration, bringing papers together which address these problems from different perspectives.

Submissions to the stream may approach aspects of Social Rights, Citizenship and the Welfare State from a range of standpoints, including (but not limited to):

  • Substantive legal problems in the judicial recognition of social rights and arguments about the role of the courts to determine and uphold them.

  • Associated theoretical issues on the uncertain status of social rights and social welfare, including material on the welfare state, conditionality, social justice, or the impact and meaning of ‘austerity’.

  • Comparative or supranational focused papers on social citizenship, welfare state typologies, or the effects of devolution and localism.

  • Ideologies of welfare, perceptions of adequacy and the continued relevance of Esping-Andersens worlds of welfare capitalism.

The stream convenors would particularly welcome submissions from practitioners or those engaged in the issues above (such as those working in welfare rights advice). If you have any questions about the scope of the stream or would like to discuss a possible contribution, please contact the stream convenors using the details below.


Ciara Fitzpatrick (; Mark Simpson (; Jed Meers (