Globalizing Welfare
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Globalizing Welfare

An Evolving Asian-European Dialogue

Edited by Stein Kuhnle, Per Selle and Sven E.O. Hort

From the welfare state’s origins in Europe, the idea of human welfare being organized through a civilized, institutionalized and uncorrupt state has caught the imagination of social activists and policy-makers around the world. This is particularly influential where rapid social development is taking place amidst growing social and gender inequality. This book reflects on the growing academic and political interest in global social policy and ‘globalizing welfare’, and pays particular attention to developments in Northern European and North-East Asian countries.
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Chapter 12: Conflicting ideas on Danish day care during the golden age of the Danish welfare state

Klaus Petersen


Denmark is often portrayed as a major example of comprehensive - almost universal - day care for children. The chapter shows that in the 1950s and 1960s a fundamental change happened, from day care being focused on assisting a limited group of working mothers, to becoming a general welfare service for all families. This was the basis of the massive expansion of the day care sector in the following decades. However, the change was not uncontroversial, and looking at the debate in the 1950s, it was far from a given fact that all children should attend public day care. Day care not only triggered the classical social political questions of ‘Who gets?’, ‘Who organizes?’, ‘Who pays?’; daycare is also closely related to social and political debates about gender roles, the autonomy of families, gender equality, responsibility for and the interests of children.

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