Tracing The Roots of Social Citizenship: Jane Addams’ Thought Between Formal Rights and Moral Obligation

Kaspar Villadsen, Brian S. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The modern social citizen is a dual figure: at one and the same time a legal-universal abstraction and a particular living being with specific capacities, proclivities and attitudes. The Settlement movement from the late nineteenth century articulated and shaped both universal and particular dimensions of social citizenship. It contained the imperative of guidance of individual conscience and the modern discourse of universal social rights. The article demonstrates that it is impossible to maintain a division between, on one side, the subject of individualizing pastoral care originating in religious poor relief and philanthropy, and, on the other side, formal rights based on universalism and the modern state. The Settlement movement lies at the pathway of belief, subjective interpretation and respect for the particular person and at the pathway of factual knowledge of social patterns and large-scale policy reforms. The focus on the particular person as subject was the legacy of Christian piety, whereas the concept of universal citizen was associated with the rise of social science at the University of Chicago. We explore this paradox of the particular and the universal through the work of Jane Addams as both sociologist and founder of Hull House
The modern social citizen is a dual figure: at one and the same time a legal-universal abstraction and a particular living being with specific capacities, proclivities and attitudes. The Settlement movement from the late nineteenth century articulated and shaped both universal and particular dimensions of social citizenship. It contained the imperative of guidance of individual conscience and the modern discourse of universal social rights. The article demonstrates that it is impossible to maintain a division between, on one side, the subject of individualizing pastoral care originating in religious poor relief and philanthropy, and, on the other side, formal rights based on universalism and the modern state. The Settlement movement lies at the pathway of belief, subjective interpretation and respect for the particular person and at the pathway of factual knowledge of social patterns and large-scale policy reforms. The focus on the particular person as subject was the legacy of Christian piety, whereas the concept of universal citizen was associated with the rise of social science at the University of Chicago. We explore this paradox of the particular and the universal through the work of Jane Addams as both sociologist and founder of Hull House
LanguageDanish
JournalCitizenship Studies
Volume20
Issue number1
Pages1-17
ISSN1362-1025
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Cite this

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Tracing The Roots of Social Citizenship : Jane Addams’ Thought Between Formal Rights and Moral Obligation. / Villadsen, Kaspar; Turner, Brian S.

In: Citizenship Studies, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2016, p. 1-17.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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