Challenging Labour Law in the 21st Century
Edited by Nicole Busby and Grace James
Nicole Busby and Grace James AIMS, CONTEXTS AND THEMES The central theme of this edited collection is law’s engagement with working families and its primary rationale is to bring together researchers from a variety of disciplines to explore this topical area, so as to encourage better connections between academic debate and policy proposals. There are two main aims. Firstly, to highlight some of the challenges – for parents, families as a whole, children, employers, policy-makers – that needs and desires for work–family reconciliation raise in contemporary societies, and secondly to (re)consider law’s engagement with the difﬁculties and dilemmas that are posed by our ongoing endeavours to provide frameworks that relieve tensions between families, care-giving and paid work. Families in market economies worldwide have long been confronted by the demands of participating in paid work and providing care for their ‘dependent’ members. The social, economic and political contexts within which families do so are, however, very different in the twenty-ﬁrst century (see James 2009: 1–6). For example, we have seen an increase in the number of women who enter the public sphere of the labour market and remain post-childbirth; there has been a decline in manufacturing industries and an increase in jobs within the service sector; traditional models of industrial relations have been eroded and the demand for atypical workers and ﬂexibility has increased; we have witnessed a growth in technical advances and globalisation of the economy has meant that countries are more interdependent and vulnerable to international...