Journal Article

Individualisation and Personal Obligations – Social Policy, Family Policy, and Law Reform in Germany and the UK

Mary Daly and Kirsten Scheiwe

in International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family

Volume 24, issue 2, pages 177-197
Published in print August 2010 | ISSN: 1360-9939
Published online April 2010 | e-ISSN: 1464-3707 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/lawfam/ebq005
Individualisation and Personal Obligations – Social Policy, Family Policy, and Law Reform in Germany and the UK

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This article examines recent reform in law and social policy in Germany and the UK, identifying and comparing developments from a family and gender perspective. The utility of the concept of individualisation to understand the reforms is put under the spotlight by an analysis that explores the relationship between individualisation and institutions regulating personal obligations to care for and maintain others. The article offers a number of arguments around change. The first is that individualisation has to be understood in a complex way. It does not do away with obligations towards family members or partners but rather reforms them. Secondly, policy and legal changes in Germany and the UK indicate that there are different individualisation processes – individualisation as a worker (decoupling the abstract individual from care obligations and family bonds) and individualisation as a person within a family or partnership with obligations to care for or to support others. Thirdly, these two forms of individualisation are happening contemporaneously and interact. This interaction is mostly overlooked in social policy analysis.

Journal Article.  8777 words. 

Subjects: Family Law ; Marriage and the Family

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