Välfärd, jämställdhet och demokrati
Sammanfattning: The purpose of the essay is to analyze the welfare state from a gender perspective. Further, the paper analyzes and critically examines three different normative solutions provided by Irish Marion Young, Nancy Fraser and Jürgen Habermas for the realization of a welfare state that includes women. Habermas argues that the welfare state has created a situation of dependency and state paternalism which reduces both individual and collective self-determination. Young follows Habermas‟ argument. She argues for a political climate where justice is reduced to the distribution of material goods rather than the elimination of underlying relations of domination and gender specific patterns. Fraser and Young therefore argue that the new client role is female and that the welfare state rests on the heterogeneous nuclear family norm with a male provider which restricts possibilities for women. The Scandinavian welfare model tends to be considered as "women friendly" because of its broad gender debate, well-developed social security that brackens the line between public-private together with a high degree of representation of women in political institutions. What is critical about the Scandinavian model is that it restricts political participation to representation. Rather, what is needed is a model of democracy that gives room for women to discuss in their own voice what their needs are and to use the discussion as a means for broader political debate. For women to be given such a voice in society, we need a model like Habermas‟ deliberative democracy with procedural rights. The strength in Habermas‟ model is that it makes it possible for women to participate in political will-formation through critical rationality. The deliberative rationality makes it possible for women to come together in the public sphere to influence the welfare state, its design and the allocation of resources. Habermas‟ democracy model has certain shortcomings because it overlooks the gender structures which affect women's access to the public sphere. It is therefore important to understand how rational communication can be achieved in a society that is socially stratified. I argue for a welfare state in which recognition, redistribution and political participation are secured and where women can participate as equals in the public sphere. This is achieved by adopting Fraser concepts of society as consisting of a multiplicity of publics rather than by a single public. It is important however, that the public sphere makes room for groups‟ particularity and I therefore argue for Youngs‟ concept of a politics of difference. It also requires an interaction between institutions and political participation through procedural rights. These rights enable women to influence societys‟ institutions and overcome the client role and gender structures in society.
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