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The study explored how family care is developed and maintained in families in cases where more than one family member is involved in care. A total of 43 family carers in Austria participated in this qualitative study. Family care is a process of ongoing communication, in which responsibilities, coordination and conditions are negotiated among the family members involved. Three distinct care network types emerged from the data, which differ in terms of the individual perception of roles and responsibilities, and the distribution of care. Responsibilities for one another, awareness of being a family carer and the availability of resources are preconditions for the composition of these networks.
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa and across the globe posed special challenges and implications for low-income families with children. In this study we explored the experiences of primary caregivers of children receiving a South African social assistance programme, the Child Support Grant (CSG), during lockdown in Cape Town, South Africa, and sought to understand whether and to what extent the underlying logic of cash transfers such as the CSG speaks to the pitfalls of the social protection paradigm and the potential for moving closer to a transformative social policy approach.
We conducted 26 telephonic qualitative interviews with primary caregivers of recipients of South Africa’s CSG that were part of a longitudinal cohort study assessing the impact of the CSG on child nutritional status and food security.
Even though primary caregivers of the CSG and their children and households were already living in precarity before the pandemic, COVID-19, and particularly the hard lockdown, worsened their social, economic and living conditions, especially as regards hunger and food insecurity.
Low-income women bore the brunt of the pandemic in their roles as mothers, providers and homemakers. The pandemic has highlighted the inadequacies of the social protection paradigm that underlies the design of cash transfers such as the CSG, which has a narrowed focus on chronic poverty and vulnerability. It has also highlighted opportunities to shift to a transformative social policy framework that incorporates production, redistribution, social cohesion, adequacy and protection.
This chapter outlines how Ireland’s welfare system evolved from an ostensibly passive model with minimal conditionality to a sanctions-oriented, work-first model. Under OECD pressure to adopt a more ‘coercive’ model, payment rates were cut, eligibility conditions tightened, and sanctions introduced for non-compliance with new mutual obligations. This was paralleled by major governance reforms of operational services. The state-run employment service was replaced with an integrated benefits and employment service; Local Employment Services delivered by not-for-profit organisations became subject to tighter performance measurement; and a Payment-by-Results quasi-market was introduced to bolster capacity. The design features of JobPath are reviewed, and how it embedded market governance by organising service delivery through competitive tendering and performance-based contracting. This was in sharp contrast to the pre-existing network of Local Employment Services. However, besides these differences, the two otherwise coalesced in policy time and space. Both were targeted towards the same claimant cohorts and operated under the same activation policy setting. Thus, Ireland’s mixed economy of activation was essentially a natural policy experiment in the use of different governance modes to steer frontline delivery that the remainder of the book harnesses to assess whether and how marketisation changes the substance of policy delivery.
The Irish case offers a rare natural policy experiment for exploring the intersection between workfarist activation and welfare-to-work markets. This is due to the co-existence of two similarly targeted employment services programmes commissioned through distinct governance modes. Drawing on survey and interview research with frontline staff delivering JobPath and Local Employment Services, and with service-users participating in the programmes, this chapter explores how the two employment services differed in practice at the coalface of delivery. Formally, both services operated under the same activation policy setting. Yet, as detailed in this chapter, the two services differed in significant ways as to how they implemented this activation case management model. This was especially in relation to how they adjusted the balance between the demanding and enabling elements of activation: whether they prioritised a regulatory approach anchored in job-search conditionality and the enforcement of conduct conditions or focused predominantly on ‘employability building’ through education, training, and work experience. The interview and survey data provide robust evidence that a distinctly more workfarist approach was being enacted by the frontline workers delivering JobPath compared with how activation was being enacted by those delivering Local Employment Services.
A large-scale crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, has the potential to affect non-response in cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys. This study utilises a longitudinal survey, conducted prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, to examine the factors associated with participation in longitudinal surveys during the COVID-19 period, and how this has changed from prior to the pandemic. We find that a number of demographic groups are more likely to be non-responders to COVID-19 surveys, despite having completed pre-COVID surveys, as well as a number of other economic and personality factors. Reassuringly though, there were many more factors that did not have an association. The findings also highlight that two simple questions (with a low time cost) on subjective survey experience early in the pandemic were highly useful in predicting future survey participation. These findings can help to support survey practitioners and data collection companies to develop more robust response improvement strategies during the COVID-19 period.
The Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) model is currently being employed in Uganda for deepening financial inclusion and poverty reduction. Despite its focus on women’s empowerment, concerns have arisen of an under-representation of women on VSLA leadership committees. Human rights-based, economic, and social justice arguments support active participation of women on VSLA leadership committees. The study sought to identify, explicate and characterise the barriers and facilitators to women in VSLA leadership. An exploratory study design using qualitative methods was selected to address the research objectives. Forty-nine focus group discussions were undertaken, featuring both VSLA members and non-members. VSLAs for inclusion in the study were randomly selected from within four regions of Uganda, stratified by: mature (>2 years old) versus new (<2 years old). The study exposed a diverse array of barriers and facilitators to women in VSLA leadership positions, revealing the influence of individual, material, institutional and social factors, in addition to social norms and gender characteristics, on women in VSLA leadership. The findings revealed that the design of interventions to achieve fair representation of women in leadership positions should be informed by an understanding of the different types, relative strengths, support for/against, and intersectionality of the factors impacting women in VSLA leadership.
At the beginning of February 2020, the first cases of COVID-19 infection were detected in Israel. As the number of confirmed patients increased, movement and activity restrictions were imposed on the public. While stopping the spread of the virus and almost eradicating the pandemic, the results were short-lived. The reappearance of the pandemic revealed not only the fragility of the human body but also exposed a weakening of solidarity in Israeli society. This chapter describes the weakening of the value of solidarity in Israeli society as it manifested during the pandemic. The authors claim that this phenomenon played an important role in deepening existing social inequalities. It is suggested that while the refusal to carry the costs required to stop the spreading of the pandemic affected the entire population, it had a greater impact on disadvantaged and vulnerable sectors (for example, the elderly, the disabled, low socioeconomic status individuals, women and victims of domestic violence), thus exacerbating social inequalities. The aim of this chapter is to examine the role of the Israeli law governance in responding to the pandemic by looking into and scrutinizing the protocols of meetings of various committees in the Israeli parliament that discussed the public health restrictions.
In March 2020, the government introduced a set of restrictions to ‘lockdown’ the United Kingdom in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the central purpose of which was to protect public health by both containing the rate of infection and protecting the NHS’ capacity to treat a potential influx of patients. These rules represented a profound interference with everyday life, but it was clear that this interference was experienced differently throughout the population. In this chapter, the authors draw upon an extensive dataset – constituted of national surveys, focus groups, and interviews – gathered during the first wave of the virus in the UK to provide an analysis of how this was experienced by women. The authors test the hypothesis that it may be that women are more likely to find certain rules that interfere with prior caring responsibilities more challenging than others, and argue that research examining compliance to individual rules might better highlight gender differences in compliance than overall compliance.
It is a trite observation to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way billions of people live their daily lives. There has been an escalation of government interference in the mundane experiences of day-to-day existence. This has included limitations on travel, mask mandates and social distancing, and, of course, ‘lockdowns’. These restrictions have been criticized for the economic harm they have caused, but perhaps the more salient objection, at least for a political philosopher, is the claim that COVID-19 restrictions undermine personal liberty, freedom and individual autonomy. This seems to be the public rallying cry for many of those opposed to the restrictions, including public figures like Lord Sumption. There is a glimmer of truth in this claim, but the problem is misrepresented. The real issue is not with COVID-19 restrictions in themselves but that they are arbitrarily formulated and liable to partial enforcement. This reveals that the problem is not just one of liberty but of equality. This chapter examines and revises the liberty objection within the theory of libertarianism to make it more attuned to the problem of arbitrary power and inequality.
South Korea’s response to COVID-19 relied extensively on digital technology. The government adopted digital surveillance and tracing measures instead of implementing physical lockdowns. The Korea case shows how digital technology can be utilized to enhance public safety but also potentially risks privacy, data security and social equity. These dilemmas over the extensive digital measures are concerned with the fundamental question of the governance of digital technologies. New technologies utilized for COVID-19 policies have great potential to support individuals’ rights, especially right to health. However, technologies are initially not designed to serve human rights purposes but for containment of virus, we need to be conscious of the way in which these new technologies pose significant challenges to human rights. The problem is that most international human rights instruments were initially drafted for the offline world and may not reflect the realities of the digital age. Therefore, it is critical to understand the human rights implications for each stage of the key health and quarantine measures. It is essential even at the early stages of a development of technology, to consider human rights impacts, including economic, social, and cultural rights and the rights of minority groups.