The Edges of the Family: Family Life, Political Concerns and the Treatment of Children in Post-War Italy and Britain
Title: The Edges of the Family: Family Life, Political Concerns and the Treatment of Children in Post-War Italy and Britain
Author: BERNINI, Stefania
Publisher: European University Institute
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2007/38
The paper explores approaches to child protection in post-war Italy and Britain between 1945 and the mid 1960s. Both in Italy and in Britain, the Second World War represented a watershed in the treatment of children, giving them a new visibility and political relevance. In both countries, post-war political discourses made frequent reference to children, presenting them alternatively as the main victims of the war, the most vulnerable elements in post-war societies and the most valuable assets of the new democratic states. By looking at the way in which children’s needs were articulated and acted upon in Italian and British social policy, the paper discusses conceptions of parental responsibilities and the role of the state in the post war period. Particular attention is given to the analysis of how Britain and Italy’s different historical and cultural contexts influenced the transformations taking place in three areas, crucial to the treatment of children: the rethinking of the social responsibilities of the state that took place after the war - although leading to different outcomes in different countries; the role played by voluntary organisations, particularly those linked to the Churches, in the provision of social services addressed to families and children; the transformation of the expectations attached to the family. The paper has two main aims. The first is to identify differences between the British and Italian approach to child welfare; the second is to explore the transformations taking place in the relationship between state, voluntary sector and the family in the post-war period, and to discuss which factors were most relevant in shaping such process of transformation in different political and cultural contexts. a systematic role for international law in domestic judicial decision-making.
Subject: Child; family; welfare; post war; Italy; Britain
Type of Access: openAccess