Från folkhem till karriärhushåll : Den nya husliga arbetsdelningen
Sammanfattning: The growing demand for domestic services in Sweden during the 1980s is a central issue in this study. Some political actors have argued that tax reduced domestic services is a strategy to solve problems dual career families experience when they try to combine career work with domestic work and family life. This idea was met by strong ideological resistance and a formal law was not possible to introduce until July 2007. The questions of balance between work and private life are commonly considered to be “private troubles” since it concerns people’s most personal life. Some private troubles though can, according to C W Mills (1959) in his book The Sociological Imagination, during certain periods of time turn into “public problems” and create a demand for formal decisions. These decisions can cause new private troubles.Three phases in time are discussed: the 1930s, 1960–1970 and 1990–2000. The author concludes that the right for married women in the middle classes to work outside their homes, better conditions for children, professionalisation of women’s traditional work and collective solutions during the first phase were changes originally caused by personal troubles becoming public problems. These questions were eventually institutionalised and have had great influence on future negotiations and decision making – for example during the two following phases.The thesis contains of four articles. The first is about the recent absence of tax reduced domestic services in Sweden and the ideological debate sorrounding this issue. Explanations are that actors, arguments and the construction of proposals occuring in the political process were institutionally “wrong”. In focus of the second article are families with two bread winners during the 1930s and the growing demand for domestic services. A large decrease of domestic workers which started during that time was supposed to be solved by new household technology and a large public sector. The plans were eventually realised but not until the 1970’s. The function of domestic services as maintaining life style and gender division of labour of the middle classes is the main focus in the third article. Cleaning help a few hours a week or having a nanny as a live-in, is considered to be strategies to increase gender equality in families. During mid 1980s an au pair system has established itself in Sweden. That is the theme of the fourth and last article. This form of domestic service is hidden behind formal rules, stating that the purpose of the au pair system is to let young people get to know Sweden and learn the Swedish language. Instead, the au pair’s are being used as cheap labour without labour or civil rights.
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