Tag Archives: family caregivers

New forms of care work in European welfare states

Birgit Pfau Effinger
Birgit Pfau Effinger

by Birgit Pfau-Effinger, Professor of Sociology and Research Director of the Centre for Globalisation and Governance, University of Hamburg, and Professor for Comparative Welfare State Research, Dept. of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Southern Denmark

New welfare state policies for family care work

In the ‘housewife marriage’––the dominant form of the family in most mid-20th century European societies––senior care was mainly organised as unpaid work in the private family household, and was the wife’s duty. Since the 1990s most welfare states have strengthened the attendant social rights and infrastructure to the advantage of senior citizen care provision. As a consequence of this welfare state change, informal, unpaid work in the private sphere of the family has, in part, been transformed into formal, paid care work in the formal employment system outside the family. Several studies have analysed this change in a cross-national perspective (see Pavolini & Ranci, 2008).

It is often overlooked that many welfare states have also extended caring family members’ social rights and support (Ungerson, 2004). They have also introduced new hybrid forms of care work in family care that share some of the main features Continue reading New forms of care work in European welfare states