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The Social Investment Paradigm and Migrant Families. The Australian and Italian case compared

Image of Dr Myra Hamilton Associate Investigator

Manuela Naldini, Myra Hamilton and Elisabeth Adamson

Abstract: The social investment paradigm has received widespread attention as an approach to ‘prepare’ individuals, families, and societies to respond to new social risks they are likely to encounter throughout the life course, particularly those associated with post-industrialisation and globalisation. Early childhood education and care (ECEC) and policies that support women to participate in employment have been a central focus of the social investment paradigm.

But while post-industrialisation and globalisation are closely linked to increases in migration, migrant families are largely absent from social investment policies. From a social investment perspective, access to ECEC and work/care reconciliation policy measures are crucial for migrant children and families. Yet there is a gap in the social investment literature when it comes to access to ECEC and work/care reconciliation policies by migrant families.

Against this backdrop, this paper asks: To what extent are migrant families included or excluded from ECEC and work/care reconciliation policies in the two countries?

Drawing on a comprehensive analysis of eligibility for and access to ECEC and work/care policies by migrant families in Australia and Italy, this paper critically examines the capacity of the social investment approach to respond to new life course risks associated with migration and mobility.

This paper compares social investment policies for migrant families in two countries: Australia and Italy. These two countries have markedly different migration, employment, and care regimes, with both similarities and differences in the organisation of ECEC and policies to promote work/care reconciliation.

It draws attention to the way in which the emergence of the social investment paradigm to address ‘new social risks’ does not take account of the importance of migration and mobility in the contemporary life course.

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