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A Gendered View on the Policy Discourse on Reconciliation of Family and Work. An Austrian Case Study

Open Panel

Abstract

This presentation is a theoretical contribution on the discourse of reconciliation of work and family and discusses the constitutive conditions of policy and labour market, where family is to be sited within. It is concerned with the popular discourse within family policy and family sociology and critically highlights seldom or insufficiently declared assumptions found in political discussions as well as in family science. The intention is to show the historical traces of the division between the spheres of production and reproduction and to deepen insights into the political and economic presumptions of privacy, the discussion of the way family is defined and how images of family work. Furthermore the needs of family members under the conditions of the liberal market are highlighted. By adopting the “new political family rhetoric” on the “reconciliation of work and family” family policy and labour market suggest a new gender sensitive style, which should harmoniously connect both areas. The analysis shows that the discrepancy on the reconciliation of work and family stems from the fact that the integration of two divergent systems is propagated which per se contradict each other as they follow two diverse logics. Parents, mostly women, who have to make a living on the labour market and simultaneously care for their children, partners, parents or other relatives suffer on these diverse demands. This contribution serves to make clear the necessity of examining the systemic conditions and their gender specific state including their presumptions and their a priori definitions when discussing policy measures on the reconciliation of work and family.