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- Author or Editor: Andrea Doucet x
In the past decade, multiple compounding crises – ecological, racial injustices, ‘care crises’ and multiple recent crises related to the COVID-19 pandemic – have reinforced the powerful role of critical and social policy researchers to push back against ‘fake news’, ‘alternative facts’, and a post-truth era that denigrates science and evidence-based research. These new realities can pose challenges for social scientists who work within relational, ontological, non-representational, new materialist, performative, decolonising, or ecological ‘turns’ in social theory and epistemologies. This article’s overarching question is: How does one work within non-representational research paradigms while also attempting to hold onto representational, authoritative and convincing versions of truth, evidence, facts and data? Informed by my research on feminist philosopher and epistemologist Lorraine Code’s 40-year trajectory of writing about knowledge making and ecological social imaginaries, I navigate these dilemmas by calling on an unexpected ally to family sociology and family policy: the late American environmentalist Rachel Carson. Extending Code’s case study of Carson, I argue for an approach that combines (1) ecological relational ontologies, (2) the ethics and politics of knowledge making, (3) crossing social imaginaries of knowledge making and (4) a reconfigured view of knowledge makers as working towards just and cohabitable worlds.
This article addresses two puzzles that are at the heart of the field of gender divisions of domestic labour. How is it that care concepts seldom appear in a field that is focused on unpaid care work? Why does the field focus on divisions rather than on relationships and relationalities? To address these puzzles, I interrogate some of the conceptual underpinnings in the field’s dominant theories: social exchange and ‘doing gender’. Through a weaving of Margaret Somers’ historical sociology of concept formation and Nancy Fraser’s historical mapping of capitalism, care and social reproduction, I aim to rethink and remake the field of gender divisions of domestic labour through care theories, especially feminist care ethics and care economies research. I argue that care concepts – which highlight relationalities, responsiveness and responsibilities – can radically re-orient how we approach the ‘who’ and ‘what’ questions of this field’s long-standing central focus on ‘who does what?’
This chapter is a conceptual, pragmatic and imaginative ‘thought experiment’. Broadly informed by Margaret Somers’ ‘historical sociology of concept formation’, which excavates the historicity, genealogies, and relationalities of concepts, we explore several key concepts, particularly commodification/decommodification and familialisation/defamilialisation. We argue that these concepts, and their histories and ensuing debates, are useful for thinking about and re-imagining Parental Leave as a social policy. The chapter begins by engaging with Gøsta Esping-Andersen’s contributions to debates on social policy and welfare states, briefly tracing his work’s roots in the work of Karl Polanyi, which we read with and through the writing of Fred Block and Margaret Somers, and Nancy Fraser. They and others argue that Polanyi’s work can help us understand and challenge relations between current enhanced conditions of neoliberal restructuring, market economies and ‘market fundamentalism’. With a focus on Canada, we map new pathways for future imaginaries in leave-to-care policy making. We argue that new interpretations of Polanyian insights introduce new conceptual configurations to Parental Leave debates, linking neoliberalism, paid work and care work, market fundamentalism, social protection, social citizenship, and entanglements between socio-economic rights and human rights.
This chapter provides two case studies, a national one of Canada and a provincial one of Québec. In the case of Canada, statutory leave entitlements are divided between the federal and the provincial government. Of all the provinces of Canada, Québec is the only province that has made an important investment in the funding of childcare and parental leave. In this chapter, the distinct historical and political development of the two leave regimes are highlighted as well as some of the effects of these different approaches to the parental leave of Canada as a whole.