I trade, therefore I am: legal personhood in the European Union

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The piecemeal, case by case construction of EU citizenship has created a patchwork of personhoods rather than a unitary status - a patchwork with significant gaps through which people deemed economically inactive are allowed to fall. This paper argues that it is necessary to assess the integrity and effects of a market-centric, economic citizenship. The free movement legal landscape is riven with welfare rights "cliff edges," as changes in circumstance tip claimants from full equal welfare entitlement to none. Examples drawn from the UK include the welfare restrictions placed on Zambrano-reliant families, and the care and pregnancy gaps in Directive 2004/38. Market citizenship and the worker-commodity paradigm have not disappeared, but have been obscured and fortified through the moral language of citizenship and responsibility. The impact upon our ideas of fairness and society is evident in the Union's activation agenda for national welfare regimes. This paper argues that we should recognize the ideological ramifications of accepting the premises of market citizenship, assess its consequences, and ask whether an alternative approach is possible to challenge Member State minimal implementation, to better commit to the protection of each others' nationals and to promote EU level social justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1643-1684
JournalCommon Market Law Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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© Kluwer Law International 2013. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.

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