Unweaving the Concept of Family Welfare : Beyond the Family/Individual Controversy as a Welfare Beneficiary


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  • 家族福祉論の解体 : 家族/個人の政策単位論争を超えて


This paper discusses the controversy over family welfare by examining its justifiability against the backdrop of the individualization of the family. Firstly, the controversy in Japan from the 1990's to the 2000's over whether the individual or the family should be the welfare beneficiary will be reexamined. This will show that neither renovating family welfare nor individualizing policy targets can successfully reconcile the conflict between the fulfillment of familial needs and substantially diverse lifestyles. Secondly, the concept of family welfare will be challenged from the perspective of need theory. It is necessary to be cautious about regarding paternalism as the over-fulfillment of need, as well as regarding poverty as the under-fulfillment of need, once the restrictive nature of need within liberal civil society is taken into consideration. Finally, by invoking the discussion on the social importance of human dependency, the "dependency critique" from feminist literature will be introduced into family welfare discussion. This can break the deadlock by articulating a bundle of familial needs into some basic needs, and by justifying some of them as universal social needs to be universally fulfilled both within and outside of families. Only by doing so, and by avoiding the under- and over-full-filment of needs, can we evaluate both the social importance of dependency caring and diverse lifestyles.


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