Reporter 423, 21 September 1998

£1.3m gives research team a sense of value

A research team in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy has been awarded £1.3m – one of the largest social policy research grants of the 1990s.

Directed by Professor Fiona Williams, the research group for the Study of Care, Values and the Future of Welfare will focus on the implications of changes in parenting and partnering for future social policies. The group aims to produce a new framework of values to underpin these areas of policy and provision.

Starting in October 1999, the research team will examine the way people draw upon beliefs, values or moral frameworks to negotiate some of the dilemmas they face in their lives, such as who looks after the children of working parents, who lives where after a divorce, do single people prefer to turn to friends or family? The study will look at how class, gender, age, ethnicity, disability, local conditions or personal biography affect these decisions.

Cross-national studies involving people in Sweden, Spain, Hungary and the USA will allow attitudes in the UK to be compared. “We want to know how women combine motherhood and paid work in these different countries and what factors influence their decisions,” said Professor Williams.

Leeds is one of only two universities awarded ESRC grants in this area. The referees of the programme praised its approach as being theoretically, empirically and methodologically ‘at the cutting edge’.


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