Economics, Politics and Settlement
Edited by Mats Benner
Chapter 6: Regulating the family in times of economic crisis: Sweden in the 1930s and the 1990s
The relationship between the family and the state has a longstanding but shifting history. Throughout the twentieth century, various political initiatives have been brought forward to increase the well-being of the family across Europe. These initiatives vary in forms and outcomes, and the driving forces behind them are complex and differ over time and regions. They might be addressed as an outcome of war, conjugal instability or ideological shifts in policy history, or as a result of the social and political radicalization of the 1960s. Despite the variations, family and gender relations constitute – historically and today – an important field of intervention among policymakers across Europe (Hantrais 2004). As such the political regulation of the family is a forceful instrument in the attempt to change existing social structures. In this chapter, the impact of economic crises on family policy is addressed. The setting is Sweden and the empirical focus is on the two great crises in Sweden during the last century, that of the 1930s and that of the 1990s.
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