Comparing Family Life in the Frame of National Policies: An Introduction

TitleComparing Family Life in the Frame of National Policies: An Introduction
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsKaufmann, Franz-Xaver, and Hans-Joachim Schulze
EditorKaufmann, Franz-Xaver, Hans-Joachim Schulze, Anton Kuijsten, and Klaus Peter Strohmeier
Book TitleFamily Life and Family Policies in Europe
Volume2: Problems and Issues in Comparative Perspective
Pagination1-18
PublisherOxford University Press
CityOxford
Abstract

This introduction of volume II Problems and Issues in Comparative Perspective of the two edited volumes on Family Life and Family Policies in Europe offers a brief comparison of the change of families and family policies in post 1945 Europe. It demonstrates how the structure and everyday life of families depenended not only on  the respective social policy regimes in the East and the West, but in addition an interplay of different factors including discourse on the family, family law and ideas about the gender roles and gender relations within the framework of national policies vis-a-vis the family. Conventional wisdom assumes that policy decisions affecting the life situation of a population shape different opportunities for private living, particularly in relation to children and the family. But, the authors argue, it would be too simplistic to assume a direct causal link between welfare policies for the family and developments in the family sector. Family change is in fact mediated by institutional factors as well as by cultural traditions and political intervention.

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