Agency and Capabilities to Achieve a Work–Life Balance: A Comparison of Sweden and Hungary
2011 (English)In: Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, ISSN 1072-4745, E-ISSN 1468-2893, Vol. 18, no 2, 168-198 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This study develops a conceptual framework with a capabilities and agency approach for analyzing work–life balance (WLB) applied in two societies (Hungary and Sweden), which have different working time regimes, levels of precarious employment, and gender equality discourses and norms. Inspired by Amartya Sen, we present a model illustrating how agency freedom for WLB depends on multiple resources at the individual, work organizational, institutional, and normative/societal levels. Using a unique qualitative survey conducted in two cities, Budapest and Stockholm, we analyze how mothers and fathers subjectively experience the tensions between family and work demands, and their possibilities for alternative choices (agency freedom). We find similarities in these tensions involving time pressure and time poverty, cutting across gender and education. Our Hungarian parents, nevertheless, experience greater agency inequalities for WLB, which reflect weaker institutional resources (conversion factors) as well as cultural/societal norms that act as constraints for WLB claims in the workplace and household. Our study reveals that Swedish parents, both men and women, express a strong sense of entitlement to exercise rights to care.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 18, no 2, 168-198 p.
Capability approach, work-life balance
Research subject Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-66009DOI: 10.1093/sp/jxr007ISI: 000291664300002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-66009DiVA: diva2:466725