The Welfare State and Life Transitions
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The Welfare State and Life Transitions

A European Perspective

Edited by Dominique Anxo, Gerhard Bosch and Jill Rubery

This timely book reveals that new life courses are found to require more, and not less welfare support, but only Sweden has developed an active life course approach and only three more could be considered supportive, in at least some life stages. For the remainder, policies were at best limited or, in Italy’s case, passive. The contributors reveal that the neglect of changing needs is leading to greater reliance on the family and the labour market, just as these support structures are becoming more unpredictable and more unequal. They argue that alongside these new class inequalities, new forms of inter-generational inequality are also emerging, particularly in pension provision.
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Chapter 9: Life Stage Transitions and the Still-Critical Role of the Family in Greece

Maria Karamessini


259 decades, in this chapter we examine the adequacy of the current Greek social model and its recent changes in their capacity to (a) provide to individuals opportunities for progress and protection against risks during employment-related transitions and (b) reduce inequalities in life chances by gender, age, class and ethnicity by organizing horizontal, vertical and intergenerational social solidarity. The life course transitions that will be studied in the following sections of this chapter are the transition from education to work; the subsequent transition from first labour market entry to career and independent living; transitions in prime age associated with family formation and job change; and, finally, the transition from employment to retirement. In the concluding section we outline the changes in the distribution of risks within the Greek social model and assess the extent to which it ensures social solidarity and cohesion and promotes opportunities during employment-related transitions. TRANSITION FROM EDUCATION TO WORK Greek society has historically expressed a very high demand for education and a strong distaste for manual work (Tsoukalas 1987). These are explained by the relative abundance of the middle classes ever since the foundation of the Greek state in 1830. Education has constituted the main channel for upward social and occupational mobility of both the middle and working classes. An OECD study (1965, cited by Tsoukalas 1987, p. 98) revealed that in the early 1960s Greece displayed the highest share of secondary education graduates in the population among all European OECD countries while its share of...

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