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An Analysis of the Work-Care Experiences of Out-of-Work Partnered Parents in France and the UK: Ideals, Practice and Policy Learning

Taylor, Abigail (2016) An Analysis of the Work-Care Experiences of Out-of-Work Partnered Parents in France and the UK: Ideals, Practice and Policy Learning. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis analyses the work-care experiences of out-of-work partnered parents in France and the United Kingdom (UK). It aims to understand how activation policy could be improved by recognising the importance of work-family reconciliation issues for out-of-work couples. Based on interviews with thirty-six families in Lille and Sheffield, it contributes to knowledge through increasing awareness of how work-care issues play out within couples and by questioning assumptions among policy makers that such issues are unimportant to out-of-work parents. It differs from existing research by examining the experiences of mothers as carers and potential workers; and fathers as workers and potential carers. The cross-national aspect - with a particular focus on policy learning - evaluates how differences in labour market structures, working time regimes and work-family reconciliation policy in France and the UK are borne out in parental experiences. The ideal work-care scenarios of the parents interviewed are outlined and their experiences of seeking to obtain these models investigated. Respondents were found to have a strong commitment to employment. Personal, activation-side, neighbourhood, societal and (especially for mothers) care factors all contributed to why they were not in work. Differences are identified in the influencing factors cross-nationally between parents. In the UK, even where mothers might find work more easily than fathers, respondents maintained traditional models of whom to prioritise for employment. Parents’ ideals and experiences are analysed in relation to six fields of macro and micro-level literature. Among other contributions, the findings notably allow the development of activation regime theory by fronting the role of care and the extension of ‘gendered moral rationalities’ theory to couples cross-nationally. Discord was found to exist between policy objectives and the ideals of some out-of-work parents in both countries. New policy directions are identified.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > French (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Geography (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Ms Abigail Taylor
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2016 09:22
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2017 11:16
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12270

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