How Welfare States Care
How Welfare States Care
Culture, Gender and Parenting in Europe
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15.6 x 23.4 cm
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Table of Contents - 6 Tables - 10 Acknowledgements - 12 1. Introduction: Working Women and the Question of Care and Culture in Europe - 16 2. Cinderella and Snow White Are Fairy Tales: Linking Care and Citizenship - 28 3. Policy or Culture? Explaining Women's Employment Differences in Europe - 46 4. Citizenship in Practice: Work, Care and Income - 86 5. The Right to Give Care: Tax, Social Security, and Leave - 112 6. The Right to Receive Care: The State of Childcare Services - 156 7. After Full-Time Mother Care: Ideals of Care in Policy - 186 8. How Welfare States Work: Ideals of Care in Practice - 216 9. Conlusion: Care and the Cultural Dimension of Welfare States - 240 Appendix 1 Governments in Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands and the UK 1980-2000 - 256 Appendix 2 List of Interviewees - 260 Notes - 264 References - 266 Index of Names - 294 Index of Subjects - 296

Monique Kremer

How Welfare States Care

Culture, Gender and Parenting in Europe

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.

Monique Kremer

Monique Kremer is researcher affiliated to the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR).