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Research Article

Consensus and Conflict in Lay Conceptions of Citizenship: Why People Reject or Support Maternity Policies in Switzerland

Authors:

Christian Staerklé ,

UCLA, Institute for Social Science Research, 4250 Public Policy Building, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1484, US
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Patricia Roux,

University of Lausanne, CH
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Christophe Delay,

University of Geneva, CH
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Lavinia Gianettoni,

University of Geneva, CH
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Céline Perrin

University of Lausanne, CH
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Abstract

A survey with a representative Swiss urban sample (N = 769) was carried out to study determinants of attitudes towards policy options in the context of women’s rights. Two bask lay conceptions of citizenship are hypothesised to guide and justify perceived legitimacy of social rights. A consensus-based conception of citizenship is grounded on membership in a group that expects endorsement of common values. Group norms distinguish acceptable from unacceptable behavior, and principles of deservingness define the scope of rights. Social rights acquire their legitimacy as devices to enforce common values. In contrast, a conflict-based conception of citizenship is grounded on a structural and hierarchical perception of the group Social rights arc seen as devices to challenge existing power relationships, and their justification lies in social change. Results show how attitudes towards maternity policies arc related to social order, common group values, structural gender inequality and social change. Positioning on consensus-based citizenship predicted attitudes towards a restrictive (means-tested) maternity policy, whereas positioning towards conflict-based citizenship predicted attitudes towards unconditional and extensive policies (e g., day nurseries and maternity leave). It is concluded that favourable attitudes towards maintenance or expansion of social rights in general, and of women’s rights in particular, largely depend on perceptions of groups not in terms of their essential differences, but in terms of social inequalities.

How to Cite: Staerklé, C., Roux, P., Delay, C., Gianettoni, L. and Perrin, C., 2003. Consensus and Conflict in Lay Conceptions of Citizenship: Why People Reject or Support Maternity Policies in Switzerland. Psychologica Belgica, 43(1-2), pp.9–32. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb.1000
Published on 01 Jan 2003.
Peer Reviewed

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