Family and State Obligation: the contribution to family policy studies

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Family obligations can be defined and understood in different ways: as moral obligations, (what we believe it is right to do in a particular situation); as everyday life in practice (how family members support and care for each other; and as external requirements (how law and public policy define the rights and duties of family members to each other). This chapter explores how family obligations have been considered in family policy research, in particular in relation to parenting and care of the elderly. We review research on the extent to which family policy acts to complement or to crowd out family solidarity. This suggests that there is a complementarity between family and state support but also that the nature and level of state support does have important implications for family, and especially for women. We also review research on the experience of receiving family support, particularly for people in poverty, where the values of reciprocity, autonomy and privacy may come under challenge. The implications of expecting families with limited resources to provide for family members can put heavy strain on family relationships and lead to less, not more, family solidarity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Family Policy
EditorsG. B. Eydal, T. Rostgaard
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing Ltd
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781784719340
ISBN (Print)9781784719333
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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