The role of discourse in family policy reform - the case of Finland

Nyby, Josefine, Nygard, Mikael, Autto, Janne, Kuisma, Mikko and Blum, Sonja (2017) The role of discourse in family policy reform - the case of Finland. Critical Social Policy, 38 (3). pp. 567-588. ISSN 1461-703X

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Abstract / Description

Since 2011 and the onset of the economic crisis, Finnish governments have pressed for structural reforms, including unpopular cuts to family benefits and services. This article analyses the government discourse used for legitimating some of these reforms: the cutbacks in the child benefit and the restriction of full-time childcare. It also assess whether this discourse bore the hallmarks of a neoliberal austerity discourse, which could suggest that the reforms were not just a matter of fiscal balancing but also a matter of neoliberal welfare state restructuring. We argue that the economic crisis was central in the powerful ‘communicative’ discourse used by the governments for legitimating unpopular cuts. Not only did it draw on ideas from an austerity discourse advocating financial sustainability, fiscal prudency and debt reduction, it was also impregnated by ideas from a neoliberal worldview questioning some of the main principles of the ‘Nordic’ family policy model.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: family policy; reform; discourse; economic crisis; Finland; austerity; neoliberalism; Nordic model of welfare
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 320 Political science
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Lina Nyby
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2020 09:40
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2020 09:40


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