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Defamilisation, dedomestication and care policy: Comparing childcare service provisions of welfare states

Teppo Kröger (Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 26 July 2011




This paper aims to use perspectives from both mainstream and feminist welfare state research in drafting a conceptual approach for social care research. This approach is then applied empirically to a comparative analysis of childcare provisions of 15 OECD countries.


The concept of dedomestication is developed from a discussion on the notions of decommodification and defamilisation, and it is defined as the degree to which social care policies make it possible for people to participate in society and social life outside their homes and families. In the empirical part of the paper, dedomestication of childcare service provisions of 15 welfare states is measured by an index that is constructed on the basis of time replacement rate, availability, affordability, quality, and take‐up rates of care services.


Denmark offers the highest degree of dedomestication to parents of young children, followed by a group of Nordic and Western European countries. In English‐speaking “liberal regime” nations, dedomestication remains more limited but it is lowest in the Central European countries of Hungary and Austria. The findings only partly follow earlier welfare regime categorisations.


The paper develops a new original conceptual framework for comparative study of care services that is then applied to an empirical analysis of childcare provisions in 15 welfare states, bringing out new results on the breadth of welfare state services.



Kröger, T. (2011), "Defamilisation, dedomestication and care policy: Comparing childcare service provisions of welfare states", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 31 No. 7/8, pp. 424-440.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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