Contested Concepts of Care Policies – Ideas, Interests and Actors
In the last decades, welfare state policies towards childcare and long-term care for older people in need of care have experienced a considerable restructuring and in part also fundamental reforms in many countries. They were in part based on a re-definition or extension of care-related social rights and an extension of professional education for care workers.At the same time, welfare states also supported the marketization of social services, the outsourcing of tasks to for-profit providers and the construction of social citizens as “consumers”, on the basis of the strengthening of neoliberal ideas. The consequences of these reforms are in part contradictory, concerning the quality of care, the working conditions of care workers, the work-family relationship, gender equality and social equality.
The stream will analyze concepts and ideas about care and care work within the policies of contemporary welfare states, the political and public debates and struggles about these concepts and ideas, and in how far care policies and their outcomes differ cross-nationally. We also aim to discuss the theoretical approaches and typologies that can be used for cross-national comparative research in this field.
The main questions of this stream include:
- Which concepts and ideas have been developed or newly adopted in care policies of welfare states?
- In how far are these concepts and ideas supported or contested among the political actors and in the population?
- What kind of care policies are currently emerging?
- In how far do we need new theoretical concepts and typologies about care policies?
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