The University of Edinburgh -

Working Papers on the Reconciliation of Work and Welfare in Europe

REC-WP 11 / 10

The emergence and changing nature of a polysemic category. European resources in the field of reconciliation between paid work and private life

Sophie Jacquot, Clemence Ledoux and Bruno Palier

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European policies regarding the reconciliation of paid work and private life have undergone substantial changes since the 1950s. This paper analyses how European resources related to reconciliation policies have been incrementally developed through layering and conversion processes. Three phases can be distinguished. Beginning with early initiatives at the Community level, reconciliation policies transformed into an instrument of equality policy and finally an instrument of employment policy. Beyond tracing these historical developments, the paper addresses the various definitions of reconciliation and their different functions as cognitive and legitimising resources.  It suggests a larger and encompassing definition of reconciliation in order to acknowledge the potentially diverse and numerous usages of Europe by domestic actors.

Reconciliation policy, European Integration, Usages, Welfare State Reforms, Work-Life Balance