Livspusslet : Tid som välfärdsfaktor
Sammanfattning: This thesis sheds some light on the duality between time-rich and time-poor living conditions and examines in which way this duality/polarisation paves the way for new patterns of inequality. The purpose is to explore the living conditions of two groups in society: those who are established in the labour force and who experience great demands on their efficiency and educational level and those who are unwanted and who do not have a natural place in the labour market.Theoretically, time geography shows a diversity of time patterns and time space restrictions between different life forms in everyday life. The conclusion contradicts the understanding of time as a monolithic concept. The results show how working time standards are essential to understand the access to time and economic resources that time-rich and time-poor life forms have. This is something that not only poses questions about household strategies and individual needs, but also shifts the perspective to social positions and demands of society.In a process analysis of Swedish working time policies I investigate how structural policy change, from a social discourse closely related to Swedish welfare reforms, is moving towards an economic discourse motivated by financial arguments. By doing so, the political measures for solving working time related problems in today’s flexible working life appear to be contradictory. On the one hand we find time-poor people in the labour market mainly supported by tax reductions and private time saving solutions while on the other we find time-rich people mainly supported by activation programmes and/or welfare benefits. It is thus a working time regime and policy strategy that obviously disregards these two sides of the coin.The European Union is a relatively new actor and powerful force on the working time agenda. The European Commissions’ policy solution is Flexicurity. A policy analysis shows that flexicurity has a life course perspective where social arguments have a central position in terms of security in a flexible working life. In comparison, Sweden is moving in the opposite direction by leaving social arguments behind. Conclusions show that the economization of time creates vulnerabilities and tensions between time-rich and time-poor living conditions. In looking at time as a welfare factor, traditional ways of solving old problems are being challenged by a policy that can open up for new kinds of welfare solutions that value work and life time patterns both inside and outside the labour market.
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