Teaching plan for the course unit



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General information


Course unit name: Time, Labour and Families

Course unit code: 570197

Academic year: 2020-2021

Coordinator: Anna Escobedo Caparros

Department: Department of Sociology

Credits: 5

Single program: S



Prior considerations


The course deals with the dynamic relationship between individuals within the family, the labour market and the State in a context of globalisation and the spread of ICTs.

The time perspective includes both everyday life time articulation of paid and unpaid work (mainly, care within the family, but also voluntary work or life-long learning), but also a life course perspective (the timing of life events, working time management over the life course) and different processes of institutionalisation and diversification of the life course, including generational perspectives.

The purpose of this course is to develop familiarity with the empirical, theoretical and methodological foundations of research on the interrelation of gender, work and family from a life course perspective. Students develop the ability to critically analyse work in this field and advance in their own research.

In this course, the major issues in work and family are examined from a macro- and a micro- perspective such as the rise in women participation in the labor force, discrimination in salaries and occupation indeces, time-management and work/life balance and conflicts, the economics of child care, the role of public policy, and arrangements and negotiations among family members around time and work issues. The subject explores contemporary debates published in scientific journals and official reports with an emphasis on using research evidence to inform public policy.



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 125


Face-to-face and/or online activities



-  Lecture





-  Lecture with practical component





-  Group tutorial





-  Practical exercises





-  Student presentation and discussion




Supervised project


Independent learning






Students are recommended to follow this seminar if they have a sound proficiency in English to understand academic reading material and class contents (minimum B2).

Students are recommended to follow the continuous assessment procedure to improve the outcome through tutorial work on their assignments, and to practice self-assessment and peer-assessment.



Competences to be gained during study


— Knowledge forming the basis of original thinking in the development or application of ideas, typically in a research context.

— Capacity to apply the acquired knowledge to problem-solving in new or relatively unknown environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to the field of study.

— Creative and entrepreneurial skills implied in the ability to conceive, design and manage projects and integrate new information and approaches to make innovative proposals for change.

— Capacity to design an advanced sociological research project and to propose original and relevant research questions to analyse social structures and the main social problems that affect them.

— Capacity to apply theoretical and methodological knowledge to the resolution of social problems and challenges, to respond to them through initiatives for social innovation.

— Capacity to design and assess policies aimed at solving social problems, and to identify their strong and weak points.





Learning objectives


Referring to attitudes, values and norms

— Become familiar with the concepts and theoretical perspectives around the trinomial “Time/Life course, Labour/Professional Careers and Families/Haushold trajectories” and international discussions on the subject.

— Become familiar with the search, selection, interpretation and use of comparative social indicators in research, consultancy and social impact assessment reports.

— Acquire the capacity to research and review scientific articles from international journals or reports within international knowledge networks.

— Review recent and ongoing research (and its derivations in articles or scholarly publications).

— Review practical experiences of social innovation in this area in public and private organisations (equality plans in companies, local programmes and care services).

— Explore potential links between the topic of the seminar and the student’s research interests and plans for their master’s theses.



Teaching blocks


1. Gendered social transformations around citizenship, work, family and the life course in local and global contexts

2. Formulations and reformulations of the “Work-Life Balance” or “Work and Family” issues and problems in the frame of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; Households and environmental sustainability; The COVID19 crisis in families and households; Social impacts of the accelerated spread of telework and homeschooling

3. The global debate on parental leave: equal and non-transferable leave entitlement for mothers and fathers? Parental leave policies and social practices in context; Mothering and fathering practices and policies

4. Masculinity and fathering; The progress of the new social policies of fatherhood accross the world

5. Analysing work, professional career and family decisions in different organisational and professional contexts (public, private, non-profit); The case of scientific and academic careers

6. Care work and care services: division of work and care through class and gender over the life cycle, in different welfare regimes; Multilevel governance of care services

7. The life course perspective: generations and historical time; Intergenerational relations; Social dimensions of welfare, well-being and new social risks at different age stages: institutionalisation and diversification of the life course; Impact of the latest technological innovations on different age groups

8. Childhood and youth sociology: the emergence of children as new social actors; Research on youth and youth transitions in different welfare regimes

9. Comparative and longitudinal research methodological perspectives: comparative social indicators, relevant international surveys and databases, comparative methods for evaluation policies, longitudinal methods and databases

10. Innovative methods in family and life course research (visual sociology, fiction and film analysis, empathy-based stories, living and innovation labs to discuss new technologies...)



Teaching methods and general organization


Teaching methodologies:

— An introductory presentation of each topic by the lecturer

— Supervised student-led debates: each student leads some parts of sessions by carefully studying the assigned readings and assisting the rest of the class in understanding key concepts and topics.

— Review of case studies or research projects on the topic

During the course, students may attend some guided visits of innovative services, care services, or projects related to the course content. Practical activities of service-learning might be considered.

Furthermore, students will develop and deliver:

1. A comparative technical report on the work and family situation and challenges in two selected countries, based on comparative social indicators (in small groups).

2. A final essay relating the student’s own research and professional interests to the main contents of the course and analytical dimensions (individually).



Official assessment of learning outcomes


— Critical review and presentation of two articles throughout the seminar, with active class participation (worth 20% of the final grade). A critical review involves preparing an oral presentation with a set of questions or comments to open up discussion, and care to keep the debate alive during the session. The purpose of the presentation is to to engage the class in a critical analysis that synthesises, compares, criticises and draws conclusions on what we know about the topic based on the readings.

— Technical report based on the selection and explanation of comparative social indicators (20%).

— Active contribution to an innovation lab session (or alternatively to the critical review of an equality plan in a public or private company) (10%).

— Final essay (worth 50% of the final grade): writing an essay or case study related to a research or innovation project (either linked to the student’s own master’s thesis, or to research or innovation projects in progress). Students must submit a one-page paper proposal for approval.


Examination-based assessment

— Critical review and presentation of four articles within the course bibliography (worth 40% of the final grade).

— Essay (worth 60% of the final grade): writing an essay linking the course readings to the student’s own master’s thesis. Students must submit a one-page paper proposal for approval.



Reading and study resources

Consulteu la disponibilitat a CERCABIB


Peter Moss, Ann-Zofie Duvander and Alison Koslowski (eds.) (2019) Parental Leave and Beyond. Recent International Developments, Current Issues and Future Directions. Policy Press

O’Brien, Margaret & Wall, Karin (eds.) (2017)  Comparative Perspectives on Work-Life Balance and Gender Equality. Fathers on Leave Alone. Life Course Research and Social Policies, Volume 6, Springer - Available Open Access whole book or per chapters at: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-42970-0

Kuronen, M. & Kutsar, D. (2015) Local Welfare Policy Making in European Cities, Springer

Pfau-Effinger, Birgit; Flaquer, Lluís; Jensen, Per H. (eds.) (2009). Formal and informal work: the hidden work regime in Europe. Collection Routledge advances in sociology; 46. New York: Routledge.

Catàleg UB  Enllaç

Johnson, M. K., Mortimer, J. T. and Shanahan, M. J. (2016) Introduction. Life course studies: Trends, challenges and future directions, in: Handbook of the Life Course : Volume II. Cham: Springer (Handbook of the Life Course).


Escobedo, Anna (2014). ’Conciliating parents labor and family life’. In: Ben-Arieh, Asher; Casas, Ferran; Frønes, Ivar; Korbin, Jill E. (eds.). Handbook of child well-being: theories, methods and policies in global perspective. Dordrecht: Springer.

Versió en línia  Enllaç

Wall, Karin; Escobedo, Anna (2013). ’Leave policy models and the articulation of work and family in Europe: a comparative perspective’. A: Moreno Minguez, Almudena (ed.). Family well-being: european perspectives. Social Indicators Research Series, vol. 49, Springer.

Catàleg UB  Enllaç

Fraisse, Laurent; Escobedo, Anna (2014). ‘Changing family needs and local childcare policies’. In: Ranci, Costanzo; Brandsen, Taco; Sabatinelli, Stefania (2014). Social vulnerability in European cities in times of crisis and the role of local welfare. Work and Welfare Series. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 103-133. (Part II. Chapter 4).

Versió en línia  Enllaç
Versió en línia  Enllaç


Gerardo Meil y Anna Escobedo (coord) (2018) Special Issue on Gender Equality and Parental Leave. Revista Española de Sociología Vol. 27, Núm. 3-Sup.


Jamieson, Lynn (2016) Families, relationships and ’environment’: (Un)sustainability, climate change and biodiversity loss, in Families, Relationships and Societies, Volume 5, Number 3, November 2016, pp. 335-355(21)

Community, Work & Family: Leave policies in challenging times: reviewing the decade 2004-14, Community, Work and Family, Vol. 18, No. 2

Escobedo, Anna; Flaquer, Lluís; Navarro-Varas, Lara (2012). "The social politics of fatherhood in Spain and France: a comparative analysis of parental leave and shared residence". Ethnologie Française: Revue de la Societé d’Etnographié Française, vol. 42, num. 1, pp. 117-126.


Catàleg UB  Enllaç

Abendroth Anja-Kristin; Den Dulk, Laura (2011). "Support for the work-life balance in Europe: the impact of state, workplace and family support on work-life balance satisfaction". Work Employment and Society, vol. 25, num. 2, pp. 234-256.

Versió en línia  Enllaç
(Revista disponible fins al 2012 amb accés consorciat per als usuaris de la UB via Sage)  Enllaç

Anxo, Dominique; Boulin, Jean-Yves (2006). "The organisation of time over the life course: european trends". European Societies, vol. 8, issue 2, pp. 319-341.

Versió en línia  Enllaç

Bettio, Francesca; Simonazzi, Annamaria; Villa, Paola (2006). "Change in care regimes and female migration: the ‘care drain’ in the Mediterranean". Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 16, num. 3, pp. 271–285.

Versió en línia  Enllaç
(Revista disponible fins al 2012 amb accés consorciat per als usuaris de la UB via Sage)  Enllaç

Bonke, Jens; Esping-Andersen, Gosta (2011). "Family investments in children-productivities, preferences, and parental child care". European Sociological Review, vol. 27, num. 1, pp. 43-55.

Versió en línia  Enllaç
Catàleg UB (Revista amb accés consorciat per als usuaris de la UB via Oxford i via JSTOR)  Enllaç

Escobedo, Anna; Wall, Karin (2015). "Leave policies in Southern Europe: continuities and changes". Community, Work & Family, vol. 18, num. 2, pp. 218-235.

Versió en línia  Enllaç
Catàleg UB   Enllaç

Daly, Mary (2011). "What adult worker model? A critical look at recent social policy reform in Europe from a gender and family perspective". Social Politics, vol. 18, num. 1, pp. 1-23.

Versió en línia  Enllaç

Earle, Alison; Mokomane, Zitha; Heymann, Jody (2011). "International perspectives on work-family policies: lessons from the world’s most competitive economies". The Future of Children, vol. 21, num. 2, pp. 191-210.

Versió en línia  Enllaç
Catàleg UB  Enllaç

Erikson, Robert; Goldthorpe, John H. (2002). "Intergenerational inequality: a sociological perspective". The Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 16, num. 3, pp. 31–44.

Versió en línia  Enllaç

Martínez Franzoni, Juliana (2008). "Welfare regimes in Latin America: capturing constellations of markets, families, and policies". Latin American Politics and Society, vol. 50, num. 2, pp. 67-100.

Versió en línia  Enllaç

Lewis, Jane; Campbell, Mary; Huerta, Carmen (2008). "Patterns of paid and unpaid work in Western Europe: gender, commodification, preferences and the implications for policy". Journal of European Social Policy, vol. 18, num. 1, pp. 21–37.  Enllaç

(Revista disponible fins al 2012 amb accés consorciat per als usuaris de la UB via Sage)  Enllaç

Mayer, Karl Ulrich; Schoepflin, Urs (1989). "The state and the life course". Annual Review of Sociology, vol.15, pp. 187-209.  Enllaç

(Revista amb accés consorciat per als usuaris de la UB via Annual Reviews i via JSTOR)  Enllaç

Benedicto, Jorge; Morán, María Luz (2007). "Becoming a citizen: analysing the social representations of citizenship in youth". European Societies, vol. 9, num. 4, pp. 601-622.  Enllaç

(Revista amb accés restringit als usuaris de la UPF)  Enllaç

Thévenon, Olivier (2011). "Family policies in OECD countries: a comparative analysis". Population and Development Review, vol. 37, num. 1, pp. 57-87.  Enllaç

(Revista amb accés consorciat per als usuaris de la UB via Wiley i via JSTOR)  Enllaç

Zimmerman, Mary Kaye (2013). "Theorizing inequality: comparative policy regimes, gender, and everyday lives". Sociological Quarterly, vol. 54, num. 1, pp. 66-80.  Enllaç

(Revista amb accés consorciat per als usuaris de la UB via Wiley i via Periodicals Archive Online)  Enllaç

Tremblay, Diane-Gabrielle (2012). "Work-family balance: is the social economy sector more supportive... and is this because of its more democratic management?". Review of Social Economy, vol. 70, num. 2, pp­. 200-232.


England, Paula (2010). “The gender revolution: uneven and stalled.” Gender & Society, vol. 24, num. 2, pp. 149-166.


Cotter, David; Hermsen, Joan M.; Vanneman, Reeve (2011). “The end of the gender revolution? Gender role attitudes from 1977 to 2008”. American Journal of Sociology, vol. 117, num. 1 (July 2011), pp. 259-289.