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The Relational Gaze on a Changing Society

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Edited By Paolo Terenzi and Elisabetta Carrà

Relational sociology is coming increasingly to the fore on the international academic stage. As it invariably happens in such circumstances, when a new paradigm attracts a growing number of scholars, researchers and practitioners, it is almost inevitably interpreted and identified in many different ways. This book aims to highlight the specific nature of relational sociology, disseminates knowledge about the relational approach which has been developed in Italy and in Europe starting from the work of Pierpaolo Donati, and confronts this approach with issues which are currently much debated in social theory, social research and social work. The authors try to consolidate the directions taken in the research field in order to distinguish relational sociology from other approaches which are not relational, or are only so to a certain degree.

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Social Capital and Familiness in Primary Childcare Services: A Study of Families with Children 0–3 Years Old in Italy

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1 Introduction

In the contemporary social context, characterized – as noted – by low birth rates and a complex care and work balance, European policies are promoting strategies to increase female and maternal employment by focusing on quality and accessible childcare services. Thus, early childcare schemes are becoming crucial in reconciling work and family responsibilities. However, in Italy the coverage rate of services for children 0–3 years old is still below the 33 % target required of European Union (EU) members (European Commission 2014). The low birth rate, which is common to many European countries and in Italy is about 1.3 children per woman (Eurostat Database 2016), indicates that families with only one child are the prevailing model; moreover, the care of children still affects the maternal employment rate (Italy: 55.3 %, Organisation for Economic and Co-operative Development [OECD] average: 66.2 %) (OECD Family Database 2014). The transition to parenthood is thus a challenging time for families as today it is not an event that cannot be taken for granted, requiring the redefinition of family ties and personal identity (female/maternal and masculine/paternal), as well as the development of capabilities in new and crucial tasks, in particular the care of new generations and a balance with work (Rossi, Bramanti 2012).

A recent legislative transformation has contributed to reshaping the role of childcare services in Italy: in 2015, Law n. 107 established for the first time the right to education for all children from 0–6 years...

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