Phillips. L.G., (2021). [Review of the book Rethinking youth citizenship after the age of entitlement by Lucas Walsh & Roslyn Black]. Children & Society, 35(5), 833-834. DOI: 10.1111/chso.12478
Walsh and Black are Australian education scholars, who offer rethinking of citizenship that draws from the Australian context and their research with young people in Australia. To translate to international audiences, they provide comprehensive descriptions and explanations of Australian liberal democracy and politics with illustrative examples as to how these play out in Australian society, with a particular focus on young people. The context of ‘after the age of entitlement’ is a reference to a comment made by the Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey in 2014 that the ‘age of entitlement is over’ and the ‘age of opportunity’ had begun. Such sentiment speaks from the neoliberal agenda of ‘each to his own’, and ‘everyone to fend for themselves’, which is very easy to espouse when you are a comfortable white middle class or elite man. Ruthlessly, ‘neoliberals regard inequality of economic resources and political rights’ as ‘a necessary functional characteristic of their ideal market system’ (Mirowski, 2013). As Walsh and Black explain, Hockey’s statement ‘suggests that citizens can – and should no longer depend on the largesse of the state and on the use of social and economic welfare as a means of economic distribution to facilitate social equity’ (p. 7).