Re-Familialism or De-Familiamlism? the Social and Political Economy of Changing Childcare Diamond in Taiwan

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 12:42
Location: Hörsaal 11 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Shu-Yung WANG, Chung Cheng University, Taiwan
East Asian countries present as exemplary cases of male breadwinner welfare model in the sense that childcare is always considered as family responsibility. However, an increase in female labor force participation as well as dramatic declining fertility rate simultaneous occurred during the past decades, thus posed challenges in most East Asian countries in general, and specifically for Taiwan, as the fertility rate is one of the lowest in the world recently. As a result, childcare policies have been
undergone transformation and reconfiguration. Accordingly, whether these newly policy developments represent the ideal and institutional break with the male breadwinner model becomes the heated debate.

There are two major concerns in the paper: First, this paper aims to identify what are the major features of childcare expansion? What are the policy discourses and debates regarding the ideal role of state in terms of governing, funding, and provision? And what kinds of strategies government implement in order to creating a conducive environment for childbearing? Second, this paper uses the “care diamond theory” as analysis framework to further examine how the boundaries between the state, market, family, and community have been shifted in terms of sharing the responsibility for childcare? Finally, this paper aims to explore what are the major forces
behind this policy transformation.

The preliminary results shows that, though with more financial investment and regulation from government, the structure of care provision, and caring ideology still remains unchanged. However, there is significant differences between infant and toddler care: the core feature of infant care is strong re-familiailsm and limited liberal de-familialism; as for toddler care, strong liberal de-familialism orientation. In terms of the changing role of government, though increasing intervention and investment in childcare, major strategy is subsidy-oriented, in the discourse of market mechanism and parental choice.