Thematic Panel 2: ECEC services after covid-19: searching to combine sustainability, safety, quality

Stefania Sabatinelli and Marta Cordini, Politecnico di Milano

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has had inevitable serious impacts on ECEC services all over the world, linked to their relational nature. Both in professional and in informal settings, in fact, ECEC services consist of the fact that young children spend time with specifically dedicated adults and, in most cases, with their peers. The early age of children then implies that closeness and intimacy play a pivotal role in this relational dimension. The need of physical distancing caused in most countries the closing up of ECEC services, together with schools, already before the general lockdown was introduced. The re-opening of ECEC services has followed differentiated paths and timings in the different countries (or regions).

The most immediately visible entailments concerned the hard work-family balance for those parents whose work was not suspended during the lockdown, either in the workplace or in home-working, who were obliged to carry out their professional and childcare activities in the same place, at the same time. Besides, the exceptional and unprecedented situation brought about by the interruption of activity first and by the need to adapt the services’ organization to new safety criteria soon after, has had severe implications for the ECEC services systems themselves. In particular, the balance between the need of containing virus spreading and the pedagogical needs of children is challenging the usual design of ECEC services. The panel particularly seeks to deepen two broad dimensions:

  1. Sustainability and management issues, for public bodies, private providers and services’ workers, connected to the lack of revenues in the lockdown months and to the need to cope with new procedures to limit the risk of contagion and allow tracing, which all increase costs while generally reducing profitability (e.g. reduction of the adult-children ratio and of the children admitted per sqmt, increased expenses for cleaning and protection devices, etc.), and often translate into a reorganization of opening hours (as well as of space), that impacts on the care time that can be ensured.
  2. Educational and quality issues, related to the need to prevent the regression of childcare to mere custodial functions, in contrast with the social investment principles, that value the temporal perspective of individual and collective returns expected in the future for financial investments in educational policies. There is a fundamental necessity to avoid that the new safety and protection procedures hinder the didactic value of ECEC services and to rather elaborate a sense-making thought to innovate pedagogic protocols usefully integrating such procedures.

More in general, the pandemic has exacerbated the uncertainty conditions in which it is necessary to operate to manage care services. The compression of the dimension of time in the decision-making processes also needs to be taken into account when analyzing the reorganization of ECEC services after the outburst of covid-19.

The panel welcomes papers reflecting on the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on the ECEC services in one specific context or comparing more than one national or regional/local case. Particularly welcome are papers that combine empirical evidence with theoretical reflections.

Thematic Panel 1: Intersectionality in Care

Simone Leiber, University of Duisburg-Essen
Hildegard Theobald, University of Vechta

The concept of intersectionality has become an important paradigm in gender and care studies. Instead of merely adding up discriminatory effects based on different structural categories, theorists of intersectionality underline the interwoven nature of these categories, and how they can mutually reinforce, but also counterbalance each other (Crenshaw 1989). The conception of intersectionality is often used to analyse the interdependence of class, gender, and ethnicity, but allows also for the integration of other socially defined categories like e.g. sexuality, age, health status, nationality or disability. Theoretical and methodological reasoning on intersectionality has significantly expanded in different disciplinary contexts. In particular (comparative) empirical studies are, however, rather rare, and methodological as well as theoretical discussions are all but completed.
In this thematic panel we seek to explicitly relate research discussions on intersectionality to the care field, and to questions of temporality in care. How do interactions between differentiating categories develop in a care situation? How do we measure and analyse inequalities in care through this analytical lens – be it from the perspective of formal or informal caregivers, or care recipients? What is the role of care policies in either reinforcing or counterbalancing such inequalities? These topics imply to take into account also important aspects of temporality in care. We assume, e.g., that the division of time for care and for work differs considerably according to class, gender, ethnicity and other social lines, and that intersectional inequalities evolve along the life-course.
The thematic panel seeks to enhance international exchange on theoretical or methodological questions, as well as empirical results on intersectionality in care. We invite (comparative) studies from different care fields (childcare, eldercare, self-care …), and different regional contexts across the world to enhance our knowledge.

Key notes

Margarita Estevez-Abe

Title: LTC System and Pandemic Preparedness: Lessons from the COVID19


The current pandemic has exposed all advanced industrial democracies to the same shock around the same time. The experience in Wuhan, China, had taught us that COVID-19 primarily caused deaths in the elderly population sparing the young. This information should have alerted many countries to protect the elderly. Unfortunately, most countries failed to do so. Yet a handful of countries were more successful.  What explains why some countries succeeded while others failed? My presentation seeks to answer that question.


Margarita Estevez-Abe is an Associate Professor in Political Science, at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University, US. She took her PhD. degree at Harvard University, 1999. Margarita specialises in comparative political economy of advanced industrial countries. She is interested in how political and economic institutions are constructed differently across countries and in their varying effects on politics and ordinary people’s lives. Her work so far has dealt with Japanese political economy, the Varieties of Capitalism, and comparative political economy of gender. 

Peter Moss

Title: Time for a change – rethinking time in education and care policy and practice


‘Time is money’ goes the saying; no surprise, perhaps, that it first appeared (in an essay by Benjamin Franklin) in the mid-18th century, at the dawning of the age of industrialisation and modern capitalism. It seems to encapsulate a view of time that has become prevalent: instrumental, mechanistic, economistic; time as linear and predictable; time that values the future, not the present or past; time as efficiency and productivity; time as gendered in its use; time as a unit of measurement and a technology of management. In my keynote presentation, having developed this view of time, I want to share some concepts and experiences I have encountered in my own work that have subverted or disrupted it, leading me to other ways of thinking about time and their implications for policy and practice: slow knowledge and pedagogy and lines of flight and intensity in the event in early childhood education and care; fathers’ quotas and lifecourse approaches in leave policy; and a relational ethics of care and the discipline of social pedagogy in so-called ‘care’ services. Having done this, I will try and draw out some common themes and conclusions – though at this point, I have not yet had the time to do so!


Peter Moss is Emeritus Professor of Early Childhood Provision at the Thomas Coram Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education, University College London. His interests include early childhood education and care; the workforce in children’s services; the relationship between care, gender and employment; the relationship between early childhood and compulsory education; social pedagogy; and democracy in children’s services. Much of his work over the last 25 years has been cross-national, in particular in Europe. He is co-founder of the International Network on Leave Policies and Research and co-editor of the network’s annual review of leave policies. Recent books include: Transformative Change and Real Utopias in Early Childhood Education; Loris Malaguzzi and the Schools of Reggio Emilia (co-edited with a working group from Reggio Emilia); Alternative Narratives in Early Childhood: an introduction for Students and Practitioners; Parental Leave and Beyond (co-edited with Ann-Zofie Duvander and Margaret O’Brien); and Transforming Early Childhood in England: towards a democratic education (co-edited with Claire Cameron).

Daniela Del Boca

Title: Women’s and Men’s Work, Housework and Childcare, before and during COVID-19


During the last year, the social distancing measures adopted to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus have placed tremendous burden on families. With a new survey data collected in April and December 2020 from a representative sample of Italian women, we analyse the impacts on working arrangements, housework, childcare and home schooling. Empirical results show that in Italy as in other countries these measures impact negatively family well-being and exacerbated gender differences within the family.


Daniela Del Boca, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison, is Fellow of Collegio Carlo Alberto, Professor of Economics at the University of Turin, and Director of CHILD and Impact Evaluation Unit at Collegio Carlo Alberto. Her main interests are labor, household economics and child development. She has published several books and articles in international journals(including American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Theory, Review of Economic Studies). She is in the Editorial board of the Review of Economics of the Household and Journal of Human Capital and co-editor of



Registration is open from March 15th 2021.

Convenors and participants presenting or contributing a paper (in a thematic panel or a symposium) need to register and upload their paper before June 1st in order to be part of the conference program. At least one author of each accepted paper needs to be registered by this date. Otherwise the paper will have to be removed from the program.

The registration of other (non-presenting) participants is open until June 20th 2021.

Upon registration all participants agree to participate in an online event and acknowledge that sessions will be recorded.

Sessions’ recordings as well as uploaded papers will be made available in a protected participants’ area.


Conference fee

  • Early bird (until 30/04/2021): 75 EUR (VAT included)
  • Late bird (after 30/04/2021): 95 EUR (VAT included)

The conference fee covers:

– Webinar platform, website management, technical assistance and organization during the conference

– Data protection management

– Access to conference papers and sessions’ recordings in a protected users’ area

– Administrative costs (registration, fee collection, invoices, commissions on payments)


Cancellation policy

All registration cancellation request must be received in writing to
A partial refund of your registration fee is admitted if you communicate your renounce to participate the conference before June 1 st , 2021. After this day no refund.
The following conditions will be applied:
You will receive a refund of 25€ if you have correspond the “Regular” registration fee.
You will receive a refund of 45€ if you have correspond the “late bird” registration fee.
No-shows are subject to the full registration fee. Refunds will be issued within 30 business
days after the conference concludes.


Important dates:

Nov 16th 2020 – Feb 15th 2021: Call for Papers

Mar 15th 2021: Notification about accepted papers

Mar 15th 2021: Registration open

June 1st 2021: deadline for uploading papers

deadline for registration convenors and panels/symposia participants

June 20th 2021: Registration closed


The Transforming Care Conferences Symposia are parallel sessions focussing on a particular and topical theme.

Each Symposium is organized by a Symposium Chair and includes up to four identified paper authors who will present their papers during the session. One or more Discussants will comment on the papers.

2021 Symposia:

  1. The IN-CARE project: Socioeconomic inequalities in care use and provision across countries and over time
  2. Time Use Studies, Care Work, and Care Responsibilities: Conceptual, Methodological, and Epistemological Issues
  3. Technology, care and temporality: ‘care’ at a distance and in an instant?
  4. Covid-19 and the centrality of care: childcare, the State, and undoing ‘gendered’ responsibilities around paid and unpaid care work
  5. Ageing in place
  6. Nordic elder care in transition – exploring dynamics of change
  7. Temporal dimensions of digital technology in the long-term care of older people
  8. Transnational care within the European Union in times of COVID-19: Perspectives from Central and Eastern Europe
  9. Aging at home in times of the corona pandemic: disruptive temporalities
  10. Intersectional perspectives on care and care needs in older adults
  11. The negotiation and regulation of time in formal care arrangements
  12. Rhythm is Gonna Get You: the Tempo of Care Policy and Practice
  13. Disputed temporalities: long-term care services in times of Covid-19

Thematic Panels

Thematic Panels are parallel sessions hosted by Panels’ convenors that, within the general conference theme, address a specific topic. Thematic Panels are parallel sessions hosted by Panels’ convenors that, within the general conference theme, address a specific topic.

List of Thematic Panels:

  1. Intersectionality in Care
  2. ECEC services after covid-19: searching to combine sustainability, safety, quality
  3. Time in disability policies and in support for disabled people in different care regimes
  4. Transforming Care Policies in Light of Global COVID-19 Pandemic: Different Welfare Regimes, Different Paths?
  5. Conflicts and compromises between temporalities of care work and temporalities of employment
  6. Professionalizing or de-professionalizing care work embedded in the changing institutional setting of elderly care
  7. Inequalities and care needs
  8. Imagining an Alternative Future: Aging and Caring in a Co-housing
  9. Long-term care in life course perspective: novel theoretical and empirical findings
  10. Care Work in the Household under Time Pressure: Coping Strategies and Precarious Time Frames?
  11. Cancelled
  12. Cancelled
  13. Time to care: critical perspectives on “fast policy regimes” and anticipatory techniques in care policy
  14. Negotiating and arranging care during the COVID-19 pandemic and shifting grounds: the effectiveness of policies in shaping a responsive and resilient care system
  15. How to measure care? Innovative reflections and proposals with quantitative and qualitative approaches
  16. Comparing long-term care policies in time and space: Historical developments and cross-country variations
  17. The changing meaning of informal care
  18. COVID-19 and Long-term care for older people – international policy responses and learnings
  19. Open Panel – (Grand)parenting time and temporality
  20. Open Panel – Long-term care time and temporality
  21. Open Panel – Migrant care work
  22. Open Panel – Technology and care
  23. Open Panel – Work-life balance

Conference Program

Below you will find a quick overview of the (provisional) program.
(all hours are at Central European Time – CET)

Thursday June 24th
10:00-10:45 A virtual room is open: you are welcome to join in if you have any queries about the conference
11:00-12:30 Parallel session A
12:45-13:45 Lunch break
13:45-14:15 Opening (plenary)
14:15-15:15 Key note Professor Daniela Del Boca (Collegio Carlo Alberto, Director of CHILD and Impact Evaluation Unit, Turin, Italy): ‘Women’s and Men’s Work, Housework and Childcare, before and during COVID-19
15:30-17:00 Round table “Care at stake: post-pandemic research and policy
17:15-17:45 Virtual coffee break and networking
17:45-19:15 Parallel session B
19:30-20:30 Evening program (more info coming soon)

Friday June 25th
08:30-10:00 Parallel sessions C
10:15-10:45 Virtual coffee break and networking
11:00-12:30 Parallel session D
12:45-13:45 Meet the editors “Policy Press Exhibition Stand”
14:00-15:00 Key note Professor Margarita Estevez-Abe (Maxwell School, Syracuse University, USA): ‘LTC System and Pandemic Preparedness: Lessons from the COVID19
15:15-15:45 Virtual coffee break and networking
16:00-17:30 Parallel session E
18:00-19:00 Social activity (more info coming soon)

Saturday June 26th
9:00-10:30 Parallel session F.
10:45-11:15 Virtual coffee break and networking
11:15-12:45 Parallel session G
13:00-14:00 Virtual coffee break and networking
14:00-15:00 Key note Professor Peter Moss (University College London, UK): ‘Time for a change – rethinking time in education and care policy and practice
15:00-15:30 Closing session

General Information


The conference will be held online

Local steering committee:

Barbara Da Roit is a Full Professor at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy and member of the TCC Scientific Committee. Her research, embedded in comparative welfare studies, focusses on the relationship between changes in social policies and in social practices, with a specific interest in the field of care for elderly people and young children.

Christina Calvi is a research fellow at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She holds a PhD in Sociology and a Second Level Master Degree in Epidemiology. Her main research interests are the medicalization of life and the coping strategies of patients and caregivers facing long-term illnesses, with particular reference to informal care practices.

Maurizio Busacca, PhD, is a non-tenure-track Assistant Professor of Economic Sociology working on social innovation and local welfare systems, at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. He has published within the field of urban and social innovation as well as within welfare performance.

For questions or information about the Conference: