Introduction: Family Policies and the Making of Childcare Arrangements
This chapter introduces the focus of the book, explaining and theorising the organisation of young children’s routine care, and locates it within debates regarding work-family reconciliation and family policy analysis in social policy. The chapter reviews competing conceptual propositions linked to explaining childcare decisions at the micro level, emphasising their analytical biases and inherent limitations in light of the focus of the book, thus formulating arguments for the need to theorise childcare decisions from a micro-level perspective. The chapter then expands on the rationales for an empirical approach to the study of families’ childcare decisions and the organisation of young children’s routine care. This is followed by a concise discussion of the literature on the role played by family policies in shaping young families’ care arrangements, perhaps the most important policy instruments in this regard. The chapter ends with a formulation of the book’s main argument and chapter summaries.
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