The changing family–policy relationship

Linda Hantrais

in Family policy matters

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9781861344717
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302322 | DOI:
The changing family–policy relationship

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Generally, family and household structure underwent far-reaching change in the course of the twentieth century in European societies, and the early twenty-first century seems set to be distinguished by greater family diversity, increasingly endorsed by formal legal codes. This book explores the ways in which family life is socially and culturally constructed in the early twenty-first century in the member states of the European Union (EU), and looks at how families interact with the political, economic, and civil society actors contributing to the policy process. Compared with other book-length studies of family change and public policy, it is concerned with the two-way interactive process and is not confined to a single country. The chapters are illustrated by examples taken from fieldwork conducted between 2001–2 in eight EU15 member states (France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) and three of the CEE candidate countries (Estonia, Hungary, and Poland). The chapters address five key questions: How are families changing in European societies? What are the challenges raised for society by changing family structures? How are policy makers and practitioners responding to family change? Does family policy matter? What can policy actors learn from experience in other countries?

Keywords: family structure; Europe; policy; society; diversity

Chapter.  4574 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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