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The care of children: A cross-national comparison of parents’ expectations and experiences
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

As a point of departure, this thesis is motivated by the big changes which have taken place in most Western European countries since the 1970s, with an increase in female labour market participation and, to some extent, men’s increased share of the domestic work. There is also a debate as to whether France, having a fairly extensive family support,should be categorised as closer to the Scandinavian countries or together with countries with more restrictive family policy such as Italy and Germany, and thus belonging to the conservative regime cluster as defined by Gösta Esping-Andersen. The major topic of this thesis concerns what expectations parents have on childcare and how they experience the combination of care of children and participation in paid work. Two studies, based on quantitative macro-data, analyse and compare differences in primarily women’s employment in relation to family policy measures. The studies concern in addition to France and Sweden, also Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom. The results indicate that the extensive family support system brings France closer to the Scandinavian countries. However, results based on 80 interviews made with 40 French and 40 Swedish families in the three following studies indicate that this may not be the case concerning factors like attitudes and values about the care of children and the reconciliation of work and family. Results indicate that values expressed in the French families point to a strong connection with values significant for countries in the conservative regime cluster. Major findings are that in the reconciliation of work and family, Swedes experience role stress more than French people, and in particular Swedish fathers. In France, on the other hand, mothers strongly express a feeling of dissatisfaction with their partner’s lack of participation in the household work. Regarding the attitudes to the paid parental leave (allocation parentale d’éducation- APE), French families’ arguments reflect that the policy does not promote fathers’ use of paid parental leave, and French mothers more than Swedish mothers refer to the weaker labour market situation as a reason for their use of the leave. Concerning expectations on childcare, French families more than Swedish families stress the importance of ‘upbringing,’ ‘learning’ and ‘socialisation,’ whereas Swedish families emphasise ‘pedagogy’ and that the staff recognises the individual child.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Sociologi , 2005. , 26 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508
Keyword [en]
Sociology, Childcare, Cross-national comparison, Family, Family policy, France, Gender, Parental leave, Qualitative studies, Role expansion theory, Role stress theory, Sweden
Keyword [sv]
Sociologi
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-471ISBN: 91-7305-831-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-471DiVA: diva2:143527
Public defence
2005-03-18, Humanisthuset, Hörsal G, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2005-02-28 Created: 2005-02-28 Last updated: 2010-02-01Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Who cares, who pays and how is care for children provided?: Comparing family life and work in different European welfare systems (DK, D, F, S and UK)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Who cares, who pays and how is care for children provided?: Comparing family life and work in different European welfare systems (DK, D, F, S and UK)
1999 (English)In: Comparing social welfare systems in Nordic Europe and France, Paris / Nantes: Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité, DREES/MSH , 1999, 265-292 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Paris / Nantes: Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité, DREES/MSH, 1999
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4419 (URN)2-11-091724-5 (ISBN)
Available from: 2005-02-28 Created: 2005-02-28Bibliographically approved
2. Citizenship, family policy and women's patterns of employment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Citizenship, family policy and women's patterns of employment
2000 (English)In: Gender, Welfare State and the Market. Towards a new division of labour, London: Routledge , 2000, 41-70 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2000
Series
Routledge research in gender and society, ISSN 99-2476999-6 ; 4
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4420 (URN)0-415-23531-6 (ISBN)
Available from: 2005-02-28 Created: 2005-02-28 Last updated: 2009-08-17Bibliographically approved
3. Experiences of the reconciliation of work and family life among French and Swedish families
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experiences of the reconciliation of work and family life among French and Swedish families
2006 (English)In: Enfances, Familles, Générations, ISSN 1708-6310, no 4Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates how social policy and norms affect experiences of the reconciliation of work and family life, using interviews with 40 families with young children from France and Sweden respectively. The major findings indicate that Swedish parents more often experience role conflicts and stress than French parents, thus giving stronger support for the role stress theory among Swedes. Swedes refer to lack of own time whereas particularly French women express dissatisfaction with the domestic division of labour with their partner. French parents favour individual childcare at home or care at the workplace more than Swedes, who emphasise public collective childcare.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Québec: Consortium Érudit, 2006
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4421 (URN)
Available from: 2005-02-28 Created: 2005-02-28Bibliographically approved
4. To Care or not to Care?: Arguments about the use of paid parental leave in French and Swedish families
Open this publication in new window or tab >>To Care or not to Care?: Arguments about the use of paid parental leave in French and Swedish families
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4422 (URN)
Available from: 2005-02-28 Created: 2005-02-28 Last updated: 2012-04-25Bibliographically approved
5. Expectations relating to childcare among French and Swedish families.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Expectations relating to childcare among French and Swedish families.
2007 (English)In: Community, Work & Family, ISSN 1469-3615, Vol. 10, no 1, 17-38 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates how policy and values interrelate concerning expectations of childcare based on 80 interviews with 40 families with young children from France and Sweden, respectively. Upbringing, learning and socialization are important expectations among French parents. The results presented here are in line with educational goals that may have been influenced by policy. The findings suggest that France may, in terms of expectations on childcare, still belong to the conservative cluster as categorized by Esping-Andersen (1990), although family policy may differ from that of, for example, Germany and Italy in the same cluster. Swedish parents stress the importance of the individual child as well as pedagogy, thus, indicating compatibility between a parental wish for the individual development of the child and an emphasis on collective care in Swedish family policy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2007
Keyword
childcare, parental expectations, family policy, individualization, socialization, France, Sweden
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4423 (URN)10.1080/13668800601110736 (DOI)
Note
Ändrat från Submitted till Published, 17/8-09.Available from: 2005-02-28 Created: 2005-02-28Bibliographically approved

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