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Flexible Employment, Flexible Families, And The Socialization Of Reproduction

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Chapter Summary

This present chapter looks at the way in which the physical reproduction of society has or has not become a subject of public policy in the course of the accelerated commodification of labour in the past two decades and the simultaneous transformation of the post-war family. It asks why the destruction of the post-war standard employment relationship met with so little resistance, suggesting that one reason was that the rise of flexible employment was intertwined in various ways with a transition to more flexible families. The chapter discusses how the two developments-intensified commodification of labour, in particular the increased labour market participation of women, and the deinstitutionalization of family relations. It compares the very different experiences of three countries in particular, Social-Democratic Sweden, the free-market United States, and Christian-Democratic Germany. Finally, the chapter concludes with general observations on the costs of markets to societies and states.

Keywords: flexible employment; flexible families; Germany; labour market; post-war; United States



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