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Social Politics

Eleonore Kofman
Care has come to dominate much feminist research on globalized migrations and the transfer of labor from the South to the North, while the older concept of reproduction had been pushed into the background but is now becoming the subject of debates on the commodification of care in the household and changes in welfare state policies. This article argues that we could achieve a better understanding of the different modalities and trajectories of care in the reproduction of individuals, families, and communities, both of migrant and nonmigrant populations by articulating the diverse circuits of migration, in particular that of labor and the family...
2012: Social Politics
Magdalena Díaz Gorfinkiel, Ángeles Escrivá
Care arrangements for the elderly are becoming a main social process in contemporary societies due to socio-political and lifestyle changes over the last few decades. The family and the State play a basic role in the construction of care systems and in the establishment of strategies to access care resources. In the present context of migration, these resources interact at a transnational level, challenging family and State migratory regimes. These new realities need the recognition of basic international social rights, as the experiences of Peruvians living in a migration context in Spain show...
2012: Social Politics
Neda Deneva
This article focuses on “transnational aging careers,” a group of elderly migrants who are in constant movement between social contexts, families, and states. Drawing on a case of Bulgarian Muslim migrants in Spain, I look into the ruptures in the structure of care arrangements, kin expectations, and family relations, which migration triggers. I suggest that these transformations, albeit subtle, lead to reformulation of the fabric of the family. In this way, transnational care-motivated mobility affects future security based on kin reciprocity...
2012: Social Politics
Isabel Shutes, Kieran Walsh
The restructuring of long-term care for older people has been marked both by the role of the market and by the role of migrant labor. This article develops the analysis of these processes at the microlevel of the provision of care. It draws on data collected as part of a cross-national comparative study on the employment of migrant care workers in residential care homes and home care services for older people in England and Ireland. The article examines, first, the ways in which divisions of race, ethnicity, and citizenship shape the preferences of service providers/employers and some service users as regards who provides care...
2012: Social Politics
Lise Widding Isaksen
This article argues that international nurse recruitment from Latvia to Norway is not a win–win situation. The gains and losses of nurse migration are unevenly distributed between sender and receiver countries. On the basis of empirical research and interviews with Latvian nurses and families they left behind, this article argues that nurse migration transforms families and communities and that national health services now become global workplaces. Some decades ago feminist research pointed to the fact that the welfare state was based on a male breadwinner family and women’s unpaid production of care work at home...
2012: Social Politics
Majda Hrženjak
The article is the result of qualitative research of informal care markets in Slovenia in the field of childcare, elder care, and cleaning. The author assesses Slovenia's position in the “global care chain” and finds that “local care chains” prevail in the field of childcare and elder care, while a co-occurrence of female gender, “other” ethnicity, and poverty is typical in the field of household cleaning. The main emphasis of the article is on the analysis of hierarchization of the informal market of care work according to following two criteria: social reputation of individual type of care work and citizenship status of care workers...
2012: Social Politics
Helma Lutz, Ewa Palenga-Möllenbeck
In this article, we discuss a case study that deals with the care chain phenomenon and focuses on the question of how Poland and the Ukraine as sending countries and Poland as a receiving country are affected and deal with female migrant domestic workers. We look at the ways in which these women organize care replacement for their families left behind and at those families’ care strategies. As public discourse in both countries is reacting to the feminization of migration in a form that specifically questions the social citizenship obligations of these women, we also look at the media portrayal of the situation of nonmigrating children...
2012: Social Politics
Paul Kershaw, Tammy Harkey
The authors examine the politics of caregiving for identity to enrich scholarship about power. They report on a qualitative study with Aboriginal mothers who parent in the wake of the Canadian Indian residential schools (IRS). Just as this system disrupted familial caregiving to assimilate Aboriginal Peoples, data show some mothers now strive to organize their caregiving in ways that serve decolonization and community empowerment. Building on their expertise, the authors argue that counter-colonial family policy investments to support such caregiving should factor in any just compensation for the IRS system if its population, and not just individual, costs are to be redressed...
2011: Social Politics
Timo Fleckenstein
The expansion of employment-centered family policies of the Grand Coalition in Germany came with some surprise, as Christian Democrats have traditionally been strongly committed to the male breadwinner model and corresponding family policies. This article investigates why Christian Democrats (though with some inconsistencies) promoted “social-democratic” family policies guided by the adult worker rather than by the male breadwinner model. Illuminating the politics of recent family policy reforms, the electoral rationale for this modernization of family policy, the role of political entrepreneurship, and intraparty political conflicts over the new policy paradigm are discussed...
2011: Social Politics
Sarah Payne
In 2010, fifteen years after the Beijing declaration on women's rights, the UN Commission on the Status of Women met to review progress in gender mainstreaming. Reports on gender equality by member states revealed differences in the degree of change achieved in this period, while highlighting common barriers to gender mainstreaming. The same barriers have long been identified by academics and activists, but prove remarkably resistant to strategies to address gender inequalities. This paper reviews approaches to gender mainstreaming in the context of health policy, and suggests that a model of the obstacles to gender mainstreaming, which identifies barriers as essentially pragmatic, conceptual, or political in origin, might enable a more explicit discussion of the factors underlying this resistance and the ways in which they might be challenged...
2011: Social Politics
Umut Korkut, Hande Eslen-Ziya
This article uses childcare as a case study to test the impact of ideas that embody a traditional understanding of gender relations in relation to childcare. Conservative ideas regard increasing female labor market participation as a cause of decreasing fertility on the functioning of a set of general policies to increase fertility rates. It looks into the Polish and Turkish contexts for empirical evidence. The Polish context shows a highly institutionalized system of family policies in contrast to almost unessential institutions in Turkey...
2011: Social Politics
Olga A Avdeyeva
Population decline in modern day Russia is alarmingly steep: Russia loses approximately 750 thousand people each year. To combat population decline, the Russian government instituted aggressive pro-natalist policies. The paper evaluates the capacity of new policies to change women's reproductive behavior using a socio-institutionalist theoretical framework, which analyzes the gendered interaction between the states, the labor market, and family. The paper arrives to a disappointing conclusion that while efforts to improve fertility are quite aggressive, new policies do not challenge gendered hierarchies neither in public nor in private spheres, which will further depress fertility rates of Russian women...
2011: Social Politics
Martin Seeleib-Kaiser, Tuukka Toivonen
This paper examines the development of employment-oriented family policy in Germany and Japan, two countries united by conservative welfare legacies and very low birthrates, through a close analysis of discourse. Why have recent reforms in Germany moved well beyond those in Japan despite remarkably similar “human capital” discourses? The relative strength of interpretative patterns—in this case, discursive patterns that successfully frame family policy reform as an economic imperative—and the role of employers are identified as critical explanatory factors...
2011: Social Politics
Laura Den Dulk, Bram Peper, Nevenka Černigoj Sadar, Suzan Lewis, Janet Smithson, Anneke Van Doorne-Huiskes
Managers are key actors shaping employees’ capabilities to utilize work–life policies. However, most research on managers’ implementation of these policies has been conducted in liberal welfare states and ignores the impact of institutional context. In this study, we situate managers within specific workplace and national layers of context. We investigated how managers in financial organizations in the Netherlands, UK, and Slovenia talk about the utilization of work–life policies. Managers’ discourses stressed disruption and dependency considerations in these case studies, as in the US research...
2011: Social Politics
Sonja Drobnič, Ana M Guillén Rodríguez
Good jobs can generate capabilities that allow employees to avoid tensions between work and family/home. Following the conceptual framework of Amartya Sen, we examine how job-related demands and resources are related to the level of interference, as well as satisfaction with managing work and home in Spanish and German employees, using three different large-scale European surveys: European Quality of Life Survey and two waves of the European Social Survey. We find that long working hours systematically increase tensions between work and home, as do time pressure, job-related stress, and working hard...
2011: Social Politics
Aleksandra Kanjuo Mrčela, Nevenka Černigoj Sadar
We apply Sen's capability approach to evaluate the capabilities of Slovenian parents to reconcile paid work and family in the context of the transition to a market economy. We examine how different levels of capabilities together affect the work–life balance (WLB) of employed parents. We combine both quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches. The results of our quantitative and qualitative research show that increased precariousness of employment and intensification of work create gaps between the legal and normative possibilities for successful reconciliation strategies and actual use of such arrangements in Slovenia...
2011: Social Politics
Barbara Hobson, Susanne Fahlén, Judit Takács
This study develops a conceptual framework with a capabilities and agency approach for analyzing work–life balance (WLB) applied in two societies (Hungary and Sweden), which have different working time regimes, levels of precarious employment, and gender equality discourses and norms. Inspired by Amartya Sen, we present a model illustrating how agency freedom for WLB depends on multiple resources at the individual, work organizational, institutional, and normative/societal levels. Using a unique qualitative survey conducted in two cities, Budapest and Stockholm, we analyze how mothers and fathers subjectively experience the tensions between family and work demands, and their possibilities for alternative choices (agency freedom)...
2011: Social Politics
Deborah Stevenson, Christine Everingham, Penelope Robinson
The perception that young women are disengaged from feminist politics has provoked a great deal of tension between feminist generations. Recent feminist research into generational change has largely avoided this tension by focusing on the shifting meanings of feminism and the discrepancy between young women's reluctance to identify as “feminists” and their general acceptance of feminist attitudes toward gender issues. Nevertheless, in an era when gender equity goals seem to be if not slipping backwards then lacking urgency, young women are less likely to identify with a collective feminist politics than are older women...
2011: Social Politics
Daniel Engster, Helena Olofsdotter Stensöta
Researchers have studied the impact of different welfare state regimes, and particularly family policy regimes, on gender equality. Very little research has been conducted, however, on the association between different family policy regimes and children's well-being. This article explores how the different family policy regimes of twenty OECD countries relate to children's well-being in the areas of child poverty, child mortality, and educational attainment and achievement. We focus specifically on three family policies: family cash and tax benefits, paid parenting leaves, and public child care support...
2011: Social Politics
Sara Helman
Based on the assumption that the construction of meaning in the process of policy-making is crucial if we wish to understand the gender outcomes of social policy, this article analyzes the parliamentary debates that preceded and accompanied the legislation of the Israeli Mono-Parental Families Act, 1992. It focuses on the enunciation of gender roles and relations in the discourses that framed and justified the Act as well as on how the capacity to establish and maintain autonomous households was constructed and legitimized...
2011: Social Politics
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