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Welfare, Women & Globalization

In this course, we will explore feminist interpretations and feminist interventions in the field of social welfare within the context of globalization. How is social welfare defined in relation to gender, do women gain or lose from social policies, who are the victims of neo-liberal economic policies, how are European welfare states arrangements dependent upon global inequality? During the last 100 years definitions of safe working conditions, the formulation of social security, health care and child care as 'social rights' have changed radically. The interaction between globalization and the rise & fall of state welfare has resulted in radical transformations of what is seen as social welfare. 
Feminist movements have contributed to the organization and legitimating of welfare policies, favoring historical changes, but have also critiqued and resisted these systems for very different reasons. An historical focus will allow us to compare contemporary and past transformations, and to look at the way women's movements and feminist activists intervened in these processes.
We will discuss key concepts (globalization, neoliberalism and welfare state) and address feminist critiques of the welfare state and of globalization. From an historical and transnational perspective, we will focus on feminist interventions and interpretation in the following fields: development (rise and decline) of western welfare states, colonial policies as inventing social policies, organization of welfare in socialist and communist states, global migration and its role in providing health and child care through the exploitation of cheap labor.
 We will discuss case studies that have to do with social legislation in the field of work/labor (breadwinning, unemployment insurance, working conditions), with provision and organization of health care (insurance, women providing health care, health care and labor migration) and the debates & practices about the provision of childcare (state childcare, nannies, full time motherhood).