THE PARTICULARISM OF WEST GERMAN WELFARE CAPITALISM: THE CASE OF WOMEN'S SOCIALSECURITY*
STEPHAN LEIFBRIED AND ILONA OSTNER
Welfare state analysis relies too easily on a sort of universal model of welfare with the peculiarities of national welfare state cultures often eradicated. Welfare states are tradition-bound and embedded in cultural patterns and are not easily made out in quantitative approaches. As an outcome of political development and struggle, these traditions provide a hegemonic, institutionalised framework for political discourse. While certain arguments, interests and actors are allowed, others are restricted. Focusing on women's social security we will try to outline how the German welfare state is tradition-bound and particular and we will do this in a comparative framework.
In all western societies women are more likely to suffer from poverty or at least from being marginalised from mainstream society. Many women are marginalised and poor. Modern western societies share common features; they tend to impoverish women and to render women and women's work invisible. Moreover, women are often denied full citizenship rights and equality with men. But there are differences in the extent of continuous and systematic feminisation of poverty and marginality ( Gerhard, Schwarzer and Slupik, 1988; Riedmüller and Kickbusch; 1982; Jones and Jónasdottir, 1988; Ostner, 1990).
'Marginality' can be described as a lack of income and economic well being, and as being partly excluded from good qualifications and job opportunities. Furthermore, marginalised people often suffer from bad living conditions such as crowded or poor housing, as well as a lack of spatial and ecological resources such as air, light, silence, 'nature', 'beauty', public transport and similar public goods. Marginalised women suffer, in addition, from restricted access to public amenities and discourses, such as____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Sociology of Social Security. Contributors: Michael Adler - Editor, Colin Bell - Editor, Jochen Clasen - Editor, Adrian Sinfield - Editor. Publisher: Edinburgh University Press. Place of publication: Edinburgh. Publication year: 1991. Page number: 164.
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