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Palgrave Macmillan

Gendering Family Policies in Post-Communist Europe

A Historical-Institutional Analysis

ISBN 9780230299955
Publication Date June 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Through the use of a historical-institutional perspective, this detailed and compelling study compares and contrasts the family policies of Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe. With particular reference to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, this book explores family policies in Post-Communist Europe and analyzes how these policies have developed and how they have impacted on the gender relations in the countries in which they have been instituted. Furthermore, statistical analysis of international survey data as well as 100 frank interviews with key policymakers, public officials, civil society activists and directors of both public and private daycare centersfrom each of the countries mentioned provide a much need update on the state of gender equality in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe by providing empirical evidence on women's organizations, changes in public attitudes and the development of policies. It also contributes to the discourse on historical institutionalism and feminist institutionalism by exploring the interaction between institutional developments and the attitudes of policy-makers, NGOs and society in general. As such this text is essential reading for students and scholars of gender, politics and social policies in Post-Communist Europe.

Steven Saxonberg is a Professor of Sociology at CESES (Center for Social and Economic Strategies) at the Charles University, Czech Republic and Guest Professor of Political Sociology at Dalarna University College, Sweden.

1. Introduction
2. The Transition in Central Europe Revisited
3. Historical-Institutional Development
4. The Influence of International Organizations
5. Institutional Framework
6. Attitudes of the Population
7. Strategies and Political Opportunities for Women's Organizations
8. Political Parties and Policy-Makers
9. Conclusion


This is an empirically rich and thoughtful account of the recent and less recent history of family policies in four Central European countries as well as three traditionally capitalist societies as points of comparison. In this engaging historical-institutional analysis of the dynamics of post-communist welfare states, a first in this field, Saxonberg stresses the importance of historical trajectories and the cultural/ideological context in shaping social policy. The contentious connections among family policies, women's rights, nationalist sentiments and democracy also emerge from the discussion.
- Eva Fodor, Department of Gender Studies, Central European University, Hungary
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