English title: Competing Scenarios for European Fathers: Applying Sen's Capabilities and Agency Framework to Work-Family Balance

Author(s): Barbara Hobson - Susanne Fahlén -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2009

Abstract

European policy and discourse create crosscurrents for fathers: the promotion of work-family balance (WFB) and more involved fathering versus work-focused competitiveness and productivity goals in globalized economies. Using Amartya Sen's capabilities and agency paradigm, the authors provide a theoretical framework for analyzing agency inequalities in WFB: the disjuncture between norms/values and practices and between policies and fathers' capabilities to exercise them. The authors apply the capability framework to comparative European data considering working times and desired working times, flexibility and autonomy in employment, as well as perceptions of economic security and job security. The authors find differences in fathers' capabilities and agency for WFB across countries representing different welfare regime configurations, most strikingly between old and new EU member states. The majority of the European fathers wanted to reduce working hours substantially despite possible reductions in pay, underscoring the value of the capabilities framework for understanding potential freedoms for achieving WFB.

Volume: 624

Issue: 1

From page no: 214

To page no: 233

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1177/0002716209334435

Journal: The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science