Across welfare societies we have seen the emergence of policies and norms for work-life balance alongside rising expectations among working parents to be able to participate in employment and caregiving, and to have more time for family life and leisure. Yet despite this value placed upon work-life balance, working parents face increasing work demands, as well as rising numbers of insecure and precarious jobs, both of which produce a deepening sense of economic
uncertainty in everyday life, which has been intensified in the current period of financial crises. The agency and capabilities gap addresses these tensions in work-life balance within families, workplace organizations, and policy frameworks. Inspired by Amartya Sen's capabilities approach, this volume
considers not just what individuals do, but also their scope of alternatives to make other choices. It includes rich contextualized studies across Western and Eastern European countries and Japan, with a focus on gendered agency inequalities for work-life balance.
Barbara Hobson holds a professor's chair in Sociology, with a specialization in comparative gender studies at Stockholm University. She has published many books and articles on gender and welfare states concerning themes of gender and citizenship, men and social politics, and social movements and gender diversity in welfare states. Her recent publications have focused on sociological applications of the capabilities approach, including articles on fertility and fathers and work-life balance. She has been Strand Coordinator for the EC FP6 Network of Excellence 'Reconciling Work and Welfare in Europe' (RECWOWE, 2007-11). She is founder and co-editor of the journal Social Politics published by Oxford University Press.
PART I. THE INDIVIDUAL/HOUSEHOLD AND THE AGENCY AND CAPABILITIES GAP: POLICY FRAMEWORKS, NORMS, AND WORK ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURES ; PART II: THE FIRM LEVEL AND THE AGENCY AND CAPABILITIES GAP: POLICIES, MANAGERS, AND WORK ORGANIZATION