The Metaphor of 'home/Family' in Introduction of the Nordic Model in Taiwan

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 12:50 PM
Room: F203
Oral Presentation
Chia-Ling YANG , National Kaohsiung Normal University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Welfare studies find specific characteristics in East Asian countries, such as development of welfare system is considered as introduced from top and the focus of the family in East Asian societies is linked with Confucianism. Different from former studies, this paper focuses on the reform of child care policies in Taiwan, which was initiated by women’s organizations and several feminist scholars. Moreover, feminist discourses in introducing the Nordic model in Taiwan highlight the family, which is not as conservative as it was considered in ‘Confucian Welfare States’.

Departure from feminist welfare studies, this paper aims to examine the active role women play in transformation of social welfare policies. The research methods consist of discourse analysis of welfare studies on Nordic model in Taiwan and interviews from key figures in child care policies reform.

I find feminist discourse stresses on de-familialization while using the metaphor of home/family that regards the state as ‘the People’s Home’ and the local community as ‘the big communal family’. I will argue that Confucianism can be strategically used by state feminists who employ a legitimated cultural tradition in order to make the ‘importation’/emulation of the Nordic model in an East Asian country possible. Secondly, I will examine how such a discourse highlighting the provision of child care by a strong collaboration between civil society and the state in a social context with high commodification of child care in Taiwan. This will make the triangle model of ‘state-market-civil society’ complicated and help us to rethink the relation between civil society/family and the state. I will relate my analysis to former debates on Confucianism in welfare studies specifically and discussions of civil society and family in social theories generally.