Rising Demands and Varying Perspectives on Early Child Care

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal BIG 2 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Kristina BINNER, Johannes Kepler University, Austria
Fabienne DECIEUX, Johannes Kepler University, Austria
The case of early child care is a vivid example for the re-organization of care and care work. Since the late 1990th the ‘Child-Centered Social Investment Strategy’ is establishing in the OECD-countries. Hence early childhood education and care is becoming policy priority in many of these countries. It is assumed that the changes are leading to an upgrading of early child care. Along with demands and obligations in the sector arising.

By presenting our findings, observed in a qualitative multi-method triangulation[1] we want to shed light on demands set by different groups (parents, politics and employees). By observing these different perspectives of demands we want to point out which are conflicting and which are alike. Furthermore we will show which conflicts and burdens are arising for care-workers in this specific (three-way)-constellation of demands.

Our research focusses on Austria, regarded as conservative welfare state currently undergoing processes of this reorganization. Most of early child care is still provided for free by the (grand-) mothers. Although women are increasingly participating in the labor-market the traditional gendered division of labor is nearly untouched. Austria is an economically powerful western country, with a specific migration regime offering a pool of high qualified migrant workers, what is shaping child care provision as well.

[1] Qualitative interviews with experts and parents, documents-analysis and focus groups as well as observations.