Chapter

Childcare Politics in the ‘New’ Welfare State

Ingela Naumann

in The Politics of the New Welfare State

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199645244
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745119 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645244.003.0008
Childcare Politics in the ‘New’ Welfare State

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Childcare, a neglected policy issue in the past, has recently become a central element of welfare state reform in many advanced economies. This chapter discusses the development of post-industrial childcare policy and its growing saliency in modern welfare states by comparing two different cases—Sweden, an early mover, introducing new childcare policy in the 1970s, and Germany, a late-comer, adopting similar policies in the early 2000s. Employing a multidimensional approach the chapter demonstrates how the politics surrounding childcare issues have been shaped by intersecting cleavages based on religion, class and gender. National differences in cleavage structures account for the different timing in the implementation of post-industrial childcare policy. At the same time, similar factors can be identified in both cases bringing childcare policy onto mainstream political agendas, notably party competition for working women's votes and cross-cutting political alliances.

Keywords: childcare policy; cleavage politics; religion; class; gender; Sweden; Germany

Chapter.  10198 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy

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