New forms of family care in cultural and institutional contexts. Introduction to the Special Collection




family care, culture, gender, well-being, social risks, care policies for older people


Objective: This special collection aims to contribute to theory and research on the cultural and institutional contexts of care and on the relationship between care policies, gender and the family.

Background: Since the 1990s, many European welfare states have not only extended social rights and infrastructure related to extra-familial care, but have also expanded support for care by family members. So far, research on family care in the context of contemporary care policies remains scarce.

Method: The special collection’s seven articles present theoretical debates related to family care and apply research on cross-national differences and intergroup differences using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods.

Results: By taking a multidimensional perspective on family care for older people, the special collection offers new insights into institutional and cultural family care contexts, the social risks and scope of action connected with family care and the consequences of the development of care policies for the relationship between family, gender and care.

Conclusion: The special collection demonstrates that the systematic analysis of the development of family care in its institutional and cultural contexts, as well as the consequences for the development of social risks and scope of action connected with family care, enhances our understanding of the changing relationship between family, gender and care.


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Bonoli, G. (2005). The politics of the new social policies: providing coverage against new social risks in mature welfare states. Policy & Politics, 33(3), 431–449. DOI:

Bouget, D., Spasova, S., & Vanhercke, B. (2016). Work-life balance measures for persons of working age with dependent relatives in Europe. A study of national policies. European Social Policy Network (ESPN).

Brandt, M., Deindl, C., Floridi, G., Heidemann, R., Kaschowitz, J., Quashie, N., Verbakel, E., & Wagner, M. (2023). Social inequalities and the wellbeing of family caregivers across European care regimes. Journal of Family Research, 35, 181–195. DOI:

Brandt, M., Kaschowitz, J., & Quashie, N. T. (2022). Socioeconomic inequalities in the wellbeing of informal caregivers across Europe. Aging & Mental Health, 26(8): 1–8. DOI:

Brimblecombe, N., Fernández, J.‑L., Knapp, M., Rehill, A., & Wittenberg, R. (2018). Review of the international evidence on support for unpaid carers. Journal of Long-Term Care, 25–40. DOI:

Courtin, E., Jemiai, N., & Mossialos, E. (2014). Mapping support policies for informal carers across the European Union. Health Policy, 118(1), 84–94. DOI:

Daly, M. (2011). What adult worker model? A critical look at recent social policy reform in Europe from a gender and family perspective. Social Politics, 18(1), 1–23. DOI:

Da Roit, B., & Le Bihan, B. (2019). Cash for long‐term care: Policy debates, visions, and designs on the move. Social Policy & Administration, 53(4), 519–536. DOI:

Eggers, T., & Grages, C. (2023). Social risks of family carers in the context of welfare state policies. Journal of Family Research, 35, 304–325. DOI:

Eggers, T., Grages, C., Pfau-Effinger, B. (2023). Gender and policies for paid family care for older people: Overview of debate and theoretical reflections. Journal of Family Research.

Eggers, T., Grages, C., Pfau-Effinger, B., & Och, R. (2020). Re-conceptualising the relationship between de-familialisation and familialisation and the implications for gender equality – the case of long-term care policies for older people. Ageing and Society, 40(4), 869–895. DOI:

Eichler, M., & Pfau-Effinger, B. (2009). The ‘consumer principle’ in the care of elderly people: Free choice and actual choice in the German welfare state. Social Policy & Administration, 43(6), 617–633. DOI:

England, P. (2005). Emerging theories of care work. Annual Review of Sociology, 31(1), 381–399. DOI:

Frericks, P. (2023). Family-provided long-term care and its coverage in European pension systems. Journal of Family Research, 35, 251–266. DOI:

Frericks, P., Jensen, P. H., & Pfau-Effinger, B. (2014). Social rights and employment rights related to family care: Family care regimes in Europe. Journal of Aging Studies, 29, 66–77. DOI:

Geissler, B. & Pfau-Effinger, B. (2005). Change in European care arrangements. In B. Pfau-Effinger & B. Geissler (Eds.), Care and social integration in European societies (pp. 3–19). Policy Press. DOI:

Haberkern, K., Schmid, T., & Szydlik, M. (2015). Gender differences in intergenerational care in European welfare states. Ageing and Society, 35(2), 298–320. DOI:

Hess, M., De Tavernier, W., & Naegele, L. (2020). Culture Matters – Normen, Erwerbstätigkeit und informelle Pflege von älteren Frauen in Europa. Sozialer Fortschritt, 69(10), 667–685. DOI:

Hess, M., Schmitz, W., Naegele, L., & Stiemke, P. (2023). You will take care of me when I am old: Norms on children’s caregiver obligations - An analysis with data from the European Values Study. Journal of Family Research, 35, 196–211. DOI:

Jolanki, O., Eskola, P., & Aaltonen, M. (2023). People with memory illnesses and their spouses as actors in the hybrid care model. Journal of Family Research, 35, 326–344. DOI:

Jolanki, O. (2015): To work or to care? Working women’s decision-making. Community, Work & Family, 18(3), 268–283. DOI:

Kadi, S., Rodrigues, R., Kahlert, R., Hofmann, S., & Bauer, G. (2022). Does the family care best? Ideals of care in a familialistic care regime. Journal of Social Policy, 1–18. DOI:

Le Bihan, B., Lamura, G., Marcak, J., Fernandez, J.‑L., Johansson, L., & Sowa-Kofta, A. (2019). Policy Measures Adopted to Support Unpaid Care Across Europe. Eurohealth, 25(4), 10–15.

Leitner, S. (2003). Varieties of familialism: The caring function of the family in comparative perspective. European Societies, 5(4), 353–375. DOI:

León, M., Ranci, C., & Rostgaard, T. (2014). Pressures towards and within universalism: Conceptualising change in care policy and discourse. In M. León (Ed.), The transformation of care in European societies (pp. 11–34). Palgrave Macmillan. DOI:

Lewis, J., & Giullari, S. (2005). The adult worker model family, gender equality and care: The search for new policy principles and the possibilities and problems of a capabilities approach. Economy and Society, 34(1), 76–104. DOI:

Liversage, A. (2023). A challenging responsibility – Care for older parents in Turkish immigrant families. Journal of Family Research, 35, 286–303. DOI:

Orloff, A.S. (2009). Gendering the comparative analysis of welfare states: An unfinished agenda. Sociological Theory, 27(3), 317–345. DOI:

Pfau-Effinger, B. (2005). Welfare State Policies and the development of care arrangements. European Societies, 7(2), 321-347. DOI:

Ranci, C., & Pavolini, E. (Eds.) (2013). Reforms in long-term care policies in Europe. Springer. DOI:

Rummery, K. (2009). A Comparative discussion of the gendered implications of cash-for-care schemes: Markets, independence and social citizenship in crisis? Social Policy & Administration, 43(6), 634–648. DOI:

Sparre, S.L., & Rytter, M. (2021). Between care and contract: Aging Muslim immigrants, self-appointed helpers and ambiguous belonging in the Danish welfare state. Anthropology & Aging, 42(1), 112–128. DOI:

Spasova, S., Baeten, R., Coster, S., Ghailani, D., Pena-Casas, R., & Vanhercke, B. (2018). Challenges in long-term care in Europe. European Commission.

Theobald, H. (2020). Sorgepolitiken und die Konsequenzen für die Gleichstellung von pflegenden Familienangehörigen: Deutschland und Schweden im Vergleich. Sozialer Fortschritt, 69(3), 183–202. DOI:

Ungerson, C., & Yeandle, S. (Eds.) (2007). Cash for care in developed welfare states. Palgrave Macmillan.




How to Cite

Eggers, T., Grages, C., & Pfau-Effinger, B. (2024). New forms of family care in cultural and institutional contexts. Introduction to the Special Collection. Journal of Family Research, 36, 58–65.