Chapter 14: Stretching the canvas: beyond welfare state typologies to capability and agency
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Stretching the canvas is a metaphor that captures the conceptual and theoretical challenges that emerge from this book. Do typologies and models of family policy provide leverage for analysing welfare state change? How do the various policies (some contradictory and working at cross purposes) reflect competing currents in institutional, societal and cultural contexts both in comparisons of Nordic and Baltic countries and within them? How do these cross currents affect diverse groups? In this exploratory essay, I address these questions and argue for a dynamic agency framework based upon Sen’s capability approach to capture the variability and mutability in welfare states and the complex inequalities that emerge from these processes. I present a multi-dimensional model of capabilities and agency that can be applied to family policy.

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