Egalitarian ideologies on the move: Changing care practices and gender norms in Norway
This article explores the complexities and ambiguities in Norwegian families’ interaction with the public childcare system.
Public childcare is a cornerstone in the ‘double dividend’, that is, social policies that equalize children’s life chances and support gender equality. The dual earner/dual carer family model interacts with full-time participation in the labour market, gender equality at home and universal access to childcare, and has made contemporary childhood multi-local and mobile. As part of their everyday organization of care, parents have to establish connections between home, work and childcare. Here, we use the concept of ‘care loops’ to analyse how local families ‘do’ combinations of welfare services, family resources, gender ideologies and the labour of migrant care workers. Drawing on empirical research on migrant care workers in Norwegian families and discussing recent studies of majority families’ care practices, the article discusses the paradox that egalitarian norms and ideals might generate extra workloads that in turn create demands for migrant care workers and trigger geopolitical inequality.
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