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How Welfare States Care

How Welfare States Care: Culture, Gender and Parenting in Europe

Monique Kremer
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 300
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  • Book Info
    How Welfare States Care
    Book Description:

    A social revolution has taken place in Europe. Women's employment patterns changed drastically the last decades. But they are still different across Europe. Welfare state scholars often presume that diversity and change in women's employment across Europe is based on financial (dis) incentive structures embedded in welfare states. This book shows, by in depth analyses of women's (and men's) employment and care patterns as well as child care services, taxation, leave schemes and social security in four different welfare states (the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium) that this logic does not hold. A mother is not primarily the homo economicus welfare state scholars tend to presume. 'to work or to care 'is above all a moral predicament. What explains better the differences in Europe is to place care centrally and analyse welfare states as cultural agents. In the case of caring and paid employment, welfare states send culturally-defined moral images of good-enough caring in the form of ideals of care. An ideal of care implies a definition of what is good care and who gives it. These ideals of care are embedded in welfare states and their regulations, laws and implementation processes. Each welfare state promotes specific ideals of care. Cultural explanations downplay the role of the state too much. Culture, as is shown, is located within rather than outside the welfare state. The welfare state is not only a notary drawing contracts between the state and citizens or a merchant connecting supply and demand, but also a priest. This book shows, by studying care policy in welfare states, that social policy has an impact on women's and men's division of labour and care. But especially when welfare states are not seen as a financial structures only, but as cultural catalysts. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0172-4
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Tables
    (pp. 9-10)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 11-14)
  5. 1 Introduction: Working Women and the Question of Care and Culture in Europe
    (pp. 15-26)

    European governments are bidding farewell to the once-popular ideal of the male breadwinner model. Except for Scandinavia, this model has sat firmly in the welfare state saddle since the Second World War. But in the new millennium, the governments of Europe no longer expect women to be full-time mothers. In Europe, the icon of the happy housewife is fading. The European Union (eu) welfare states fully committed themselves to working women as part of the 2000 Lisbon Strategy, the eu’s framework for action. If more women worked, this would contribute to the European aspirations of becoming ‘the most competitive and...

  6. 2 Cinderella and Snow White Are Fairy Tales: Linking Care and Citizenship
    (pp. 27-44)

    The story of welfare states is also the story of citizenship. In general terms, citizenship describes the relationship between the individual and the state, but in welfare state theories it often acts as a yardstick by which progress can be measured. T.H. Marshall (1976 or 1950: 29), one of the concept’s formative fathers, sees citizenship as ‘an image of an ideal citizenship against which achievements can be measured and towards which aspirations can be directed’. Any interpretation of the concept is thus per definition value-led: it contains a normative definition of what a full citizen is, and the rights and...

  7. 3 Policy or Culture? Explaining Women’s Employment Differences in Europe
    (pp. 45-84)

    Why do Danish mothers work more than their Dutch counterparts? And the Belgian more than the British? What explains gender diversity across Europe? And why are female employment rates changing? Fingers often point to welfare state policies. Their design can result in high or low female activity rates. The key question raised in this book is whether this is true, and if it is true, how can social policy influence women’s decision-making with respect to work. More recently, a cultural approach has gained ground. It stresses that the impact of social policies should not be overestimated, as they only play...

  8. 4 Citizenship in Practice: Work, Care, and Income
    (pp. 85-110)

    ‘Women’s move into the economy … is the basic social revolution of our time’, writes the American sociologist Hochschild (1989: 249). This has not only changed the structure of labour markets but also the balance of power within the family. This present chapter demonstrates that all four countries have waved goodbye to the ideal of full-time motherhood, though this has happened during different decades and at different speeds and in different manners. Hochschild also signals a ‘stalled revolution’: while women moved out of the house, men did not move into the house: parental sharing is not a common practice. Men’s...

  9. 5 The Right to Give Care: Tax, Social Security, and Leave
    (pp. 111-154)

    Can financial compensation for caregiving explain different and changing patterns of women’s employment in Europe? Will women indeed work less when they receive money to provide care, such as a male-breadwinner bonus in taxation, or compensation via social security and leave schemes? This chapter confronts the existing welfare state typologies with women’s participation patterns. Following welfare state theories such as those of Esping-Andersen (1990), Lewis (1992a), and Sainsbury (1996), we expect strong breadwinner bonuses in the Belgian and Dutch systems, work incentives in the Danish system, and a more diffuse picture in the United Kingdom. Is this indeed the case?...

  10. 6 The Right to Receive Care: The State of Childcare Services
    (pp. 155-184)

    Without childcare there are no working mothers; only when women have their hands free from caring duties can they enter the labour market. This is the dominant logic in welfare state studies. The Scandinavian countries – Sweden and Denmark (not Norway) – offer proof of this. Both have exceptionally high female employment rates. What sets them apart from the rest of Europe is the early development and universal coverage of state-funded childcare. Informal care can also relieve women, but if women want to worken massefor a substantial number of hours, publicly funded and organised childcare is a necessary...

  11. 7 After Full-Time Mother Care: Ideals of Care in Policy
    (pp. 185-214)

    Few welfare states univocally and exclusively support the ideal of full-time motherhood, today a fact that many welfare state theories have not taken into account. The previous chapters showed how the paradigm of full-time motherhood has changed in different countries at different paces and times. Two conditions for this paradigm shift stand out. Women themselves encouraged the dismantling of the full-time motherhood ideal. They did so by entering the labour force and pushing for change but they also used political force (often together with other political groups – sometimes liberals, sometimes trade unions). The second condition is economic necessity, although...

  12. 8 How Welfare States Work: Ideals of Care in Practice
    (pp. 215-238)

    Care ideals are helpful in understanding the (changing) content and origins of caring states. The previous chapter showed that welfare states promote different ideals of care. But ideals of care also help to explain why mothers do or do not work. When mothers make decisions about work, they always refer to whether their children are cared for well. Appropriate care solutions that fit people’s ideals are a necessary condition for taking up employment. This also entails that welfare states are more than a set of financial structures that limit and provide people’s choices, as comparative welfare state theories often assume....

  13. 9 Conclusion: Care and the Cultural Dimension of Welfare States
    (pp. 239-254)

    For women, welfare states matter. But they matter in a different way than is often assumed. Welfare state scholars often presume that diversity in women’s employment across Europe is based on financial (dis)incentive structures embedded in welfare states. In other words: if childcare is available and affordable, most mothers will work. If tax and benefit schemes have no financial employment obstructions, women will work. Welfare states are captured as structures of financial incentives and disincentives (e.g., Esping-Andersen 1990, 1999; 2002; Lewis 1992a, 1997b; Sainsbury 1996, 1999; O’Connor et al. 1999; Daly and Rake 2003). Policymakers at European as well as...

  14. Appendix I Governments In Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands and the UK 1980-2000
    (pp. 255-258)
  15. Appendix II List of Interviewees
    (pp. 259-262)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 263-264)
  17. References
    (pp. 265-292)
  18. Index of Names
    (pp. 293-294)
  19. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 295-298)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 299-299)