The Institutionalization of Family Welfare: The Social Division of Labour in the Field of Child Care in Austria and Germany
Comparative research on family policies has primarily focused on governmental activities for the family. Public expenditures and single governmental measures have been at the core of current discussion, with a specific focus on their impact on particular social situations of families as well as on particular family forms. Thus, most of the debate is state-centred, neglecting the role of collective actors in civil society, such as the Church, in providing family welfare. The aim of this paper is to study the division of labour between family, government and civil society on the one hand and its consequence for the division of labour within the family on the other hand in the field of child care. After presenting a short overview of the present state of comparative research, I will develop a theoretical framework for studying the social division of labour in the field of family welfare. Following this theoretical approach, I will describe the social division of labour in the field of child care. In order to develop an institutional map of child care in Europe, I will compare Austria and Germany as exemplary cases. There are huge variations in these patterns to be found all across Western European societies. Thus, in the part to follow, I try to explain these similarities and differences with reference to the origins and development of the division of labour in the field of child care. For this purpose, I choose an historical and interpretive approach following Stein Rokkan. Thus, I will study and compare the country-specific configurations of cleavages from their origins, the social actors organizing along these lines of conflicts, and their ideas for problem-solving in the field of child care.