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.

As with other streams at this conference, the Covid-19 pandemic has set these pre-existing issues into even sharper relief. As Emily Maitlis observed, “this is a health issue with huge ramifications for social welfare, and it’s a welfare issue with huge ramifications for public health.” What has been the social security response of Governments’ to this pandemic? In the ongoing economic downturn, will they heed the lessons of a decade of austerity scholarship? Can this crisis fuel debates about a new future for social rights, citizenship and the welfare state?

This stream seeks to explore all these issues, 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 (, Jed Meers ( and Mark Simpson (