‘Quality Time’ in Nanny Families: Local Care Loops and New Inequalities in Sweden

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Political initiatives such as tax deductions for domestic services including nannies have, together with a growing au pair market, paved the way for new possibilities of organizing child care and parenting in Sweden. This affects everyday ‘local care loops’ for the upper-middle-class families purchasing the services, as the logistics of solving the work-family dilemma change with the possibility of hiring cheap female—and often migrant—care workers (Näre & Isaksen 2019). In this chapter, we analyse how this affects the doing of family in ‘nanny families’. Taking our point of departure in a qualitative study with nannies and au pairs (n = 26), parents (n = 29), and children receiving care (n = 19) (Eldén and Anving 2019), we show how everyday care is experienced and understood from the perspective of different actors involved in the practice, with a special focus on ideas of ‘quality time’. We argue that the new possibilities of organizing care and time in families reproduce inequalities: the new local care loops enable the possibility for some—well-off—parents to realize ideals of ‘good and stress-free parenting’, with quality time with their children, while at the same time not giving up on the idea of gender equality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCare Loops and Mobilities in Nordic, Central, and Eastern European Welfare States
EditorsLena Näre, Lise Widding Isaksen
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-92889-6
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-92888-9
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar 1

Publication series

NamePalgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2731-6440
ISSN (Electronic)2731-6459

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • Gender Studies


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