The politics of Europeanisation patterns of work and family life reconciliation policy
: Germany and Turkey

  • Nazli Kazanoglu

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


With the dramatic changes in the extent to which women and men contribute to unpaid domestic work and paid employment, work and family life reconciliation (WFLR) has become more prominent than ever before within the European Union (EU) agenda. Particularly from the 2000s, the EU began to require a relatively stronger convergence from member and candidate states. However, this does not necessarily result in total policy change. Existing domestic political and cultural conditions may facilitate or prohibit the change at national levels. This comparative study thus endeavours to examine the Europeanisation patterns of WFLR policies of a longstanding candidate country, Turkey and a founding member country, Germany, over the last decade, with a particular emphasis on intervening domestic actors and factors. To interrogate the subject, the study draws on a combination of Europeanisation literature and New Institutionalism (NI) theory. The term Europeanisation has been applied when explaining the domestic impact of the EU on Turkish and German WFLR policies, whereas the NI theory has been applied when explaining the domestic responses to the EU influence. This study employs a qualitative research design and adopts a comparative approach. The comparison is conducted between the Europeanisation process in Germany and the Europeanisation process in Turkey around this specific policy area. The data have been collected through the combination of document analysis and 80 semi-structured in-depth interviews with EU representatives; German and Turkish political elites; representatives of civil society organisations (CSO); and academics. The collected data is then analysed through the combination of thematic analysis and process tracing. The findings show that, at the time when the EU started to require a stronger convergence, the gaps between the German and Turkish WFLR policies and the EU WFLR policies were considerable. Therefore, each country received a high level of adaptational pressure in this specific policy area. In response to this adaptational pressure, both governments introduced a number of laws with respect to WFLR. However, a close examination of these laws indicates an incomplete and a contradictory Europeanisation process in each country. This study viii further found the simultaneous existence of domestic actors supporting the Europeanisation process and of those supporting the status quo; their contributions to the process are key reasons for this contradiction and incompleteness, which adds to the view that Europeanisation is a twofold process, which comprises both the push from the EU and the pull by the domestic actors. Through its uniquely developed theoretical framework that compares Europeanisation patterns of a founding member and a candidate state from an actor-centred lens, this study contributes to three different literature strands: Europeanisation, gender studies, and comparative social policy studies. Additionally, due to the wide range of data collected throughout the fieldwork, this study also provides an empirical contribution by giving more insight into Europeanisation and social policy knowledge at national levels.
Date of AwardOct 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMarkus Ketola (Supervisor) & Ann-Marie Gray (Supervisor)


  • Gender Equality
  • New Institutionalism
  • Social Policy
  • Work-Family Life Balance

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