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Article
Publication date: 29 May 2020

Stefania Barillà, Flavia Martinelli and Antonella Sarlo

This article seeks to explain why the public provision of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in Reggio di Calabria – the largest city of the Calabria…

Abstract

Purpose

This article seeks to explain why the public provision of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in Reggio di Calabria – the largest city of the Calabria region in Southern Italy – has remained among the lowest in the country, failing to respond to the growing local demand for such services. Most of the limited formal supply of ECEC services currently available in the city is almost exclusively provided, for a fee, by private – until recently unregulated – day care centres, whereas households who cannot afford them must still rely on family care.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on original research findings, the article explains how such a supply configuration is the result of several concurrent factors – structural, institutional and cultural, on both the demand and the supply side of the service relation – and has been conditioned by both national and local specificities.

Findings

The complex interplay of these factors accounts not only for the enduring absence of an adequate public provision of ECEC services in the city and its region but also for the reproduction of an “unsupported” familistic model of care, while a loosely regulated private supply answers the growing demand coming from the working women who can afford it.

Social implications

The lack of public ECEC, which was significantly aggravated by the 2008 financial crisis, represents a major constraint for women's emancipation and social justice in an already difficult socio-economic context.

Originality/value

The article provides in-depth knowledge on the enduring deficit of public ECEC services in a region and city that are little studied, together with a contextualized interpretation of its causes and implications.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 40 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 October 2015

Stefania Sabatinelli and Matteo Villa

The dote system is the most recent and only way to finance and deliver services in the training and labour policy field in Lombardy (Italy), strengthening the regional…

Abstract

Purpose

The dote system is the most recent and only way to finance and deliver services in the training and labour policy field in Lombardy (Italy), strengthening the regional quasi-market approach. The purpose of this paper is to analyse its logic and highlight the implications for the policy system.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative case-study including preliminary documentation, analysis of administrative data, in-depth interviews with stakeholders and practitioners.

Findings

The dote system is based on a strongly pre-structured and pure performance logic. It predefines forms, ways and steps towards people’s “autonomy”, further categorising the policy system and establishing a combination of individualisation without personalisation. The strict regulation makes it difficult to design accessible, high-quality and tailor-made interventions. Dote could represent an interesting innovation for high-profile measures, but as a universal equivalent it often fails to match the needs of people and the labour market.

Research limitations/implications

The self-funded research is limited to a regional context, analysed against the background of European welfare transformations. Greater effort in qualitative research could improve the knowledge about the implications of NPM and quasi-markets.

Practical implications

Regional centralism is strengthened; local authorities and private bodies are excluded from planning; freedom of choice is limited. A marriage of convenience between providers and users increases the level of stress and the dispersion of resources.

Originality/value

Dote is a particular experiment in the panorama of activation. It works in a unique way, impacting on governance and activation modes. The paper is addressed to researchers, practitioners and policy makers interested in gaining better understanding of the implications of quasi-markets and NPM.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 35 no. 11/12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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