In European societies care of children under the three years old implies the presence of a variety of social actors. The current situation of global financial crisis has contributed to introduce into the political agenda a discussion about the ways care should be provided and the actors that should be involved. Spain and Norway have had a different development in this field. The project aims at comparing the current situation of both countries and, simultaneously, the effects the crisis is having on social aspects such as work-life balance policies, gender equality, social cohesion and migration processes. The donor partner, University of Bergen, Faculty of Social Sciences, has a long history researching on the fields of family and care organization and social policies. The collaboration with Bergen University serves as an entry point to Norwegian families and policy-makers who are recipients of key information to undertake the comparison. The project aims to bring new information that will provide a source to rethink the current position of care in society and the contemporary role of the Welfare State benefiting to the policy makers and the society as a whole.
Summary of project results
The project provided new information to consider the current posit8ion of care in society and the contemporary role of the Welfare State. Partners have identified the presence of new resources and strategies for caring, understanding, in this way, the current social organization and future social demands in both countries, Norway and Spain. The Spanish researchers Magdalena Díaz Gorfinkiel and Vicente Díaz Gandasegui visited Bergen and, during their stay, had meetings with academics and obtained useful information, and thy also participated in a workshop discussing issues in regards of work-life balance and gender inequalities in two different models of Welfare State. They also interviewed academics, politicians and experts in Welfare State from both participating countries to compare the life-work balance situation in Norway to the one in Spain using qualitative methods. They obtained valuable theoretical information as a consequence of the bibliographical review and the knowledge transmitted by academics in Norway. They also had access to very relevant information in secondary sources available at University of Bergen. The implementation of the project has resulted, so far, in two papers that have been submitted to journals of recognized prestige (Revista de Economía Crítica and Journal of Comparative Family Studies). Indeed, the paper “Crisis y Estado de Bienestar en el cuidado de menores: reflexiones conceptuales a partir de un estudio comparado de España y Noruega” has already been accepted in Revista de Economía Crítica and will be very soon published. The project has helped and will help to raise awareness on how different social policies lead to different demographic patterns (i.e. fertility rates, mean age at first child or different work-life policies) and the relevance of designing public policies that take into consideration gender inequalities and work-life balance issues. The analysis can be useful to institutions and researchers who are intending to develop policies which will influence gender balance and a more friendly relation between productive-reproductive spheres.
Summary of bilateral results
Partners have built and strengthened a productive academic relationship. Besides, the International Workshop organized in Madrid (also funded by NILS programme within bilateral relations fund), gave the project promoter University Carlos III of Madrid the opportunity to start a relationship with the Institute of Fiscal Studies and PLENT as well as with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in the issue of the project. The promoter also strengthened the links with the Department of Sociology of the Autonomous University of Madrid, with the University Institute Ortega-Gasset-Marañón and with University of Stockholm. Partners expect to develop the current partnership with more academic activities. The project coordinator and Spanish team is intending to publish more papers with the Norwegian colleagues and to organize further workshops and seminars.