Legitimacy and acceptability of policy intervention in family life

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:
Legitimacy and acceptability of policy intervention in family life

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In addition to the rights and duties conferred on the state by national constitutions, which provide the legal basis for policy formulation, an indication of the legitimacy of government intervention in family life can be gained by examining the ways in which different policy actors cooperate in policy formulation and delivery. This chapter focuses on the legitimacy and social acceptability of government intervention in family life. It analyses how the relationship between the state and families is defined, conceptualised, and institutionalised at EU level and in member states. The chapter examines the extent to which society considers intervention by political, economic, and civil-society actors to be legitimate and acceptable in the areas of socio-economic change. It identifies the main parameters patterning family policy in the early twenty-first century and characterises welfare arrangements in EU member states with reference to their approaches to family policy. The chapter provides examples that highlight the complexity of the factors determining the legitimacy and acceptability of state intervention in family affairs.

Keywords: family; legitimacy; policy intervention; society; welfare; EU

Chapter.  15566 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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