ESRC Research Group for the Study of Care, Values and the Future of Welfare

The ESRC Research Group on Care, Values and the Future of Welfare (CAVA), based at the University of Leeds, was set up in 1999 to deliver a five-year research programme on changes in parenting, partnering and the implications of these for future social policies.

We were interested in 'what matters' to people in these relationships, especially as they undergo change. We carried out six qualitative research projects on aspects of social change in care, relationships and family life. The research team brought together experts from social policy, sociology, geography, psychology, and socio-legal studies.

CAVA's research findings have contributed an influential theoretical critique of individualisation; new accounts of commitment, personal relationships and family change; new methodologies for researching ‘geography of family formations' and new policy perspectives on the personal and political ethics of care.

The work carried out in CAVA provided some background to two of the School's two subsequent major research programmes - Real Life Methods and Timescapes  - directed by Sarah Irwin and Bren Neale respectively, who both were involved with CAVA, and carry forward its qualitative work on personal/social relationships. Fiona Williams is involved with Timescapes as policy advisor. She is also continuing her work on developing a political ethic of care.

Project Publications

Williams, F. (2004) Rethinking Families. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Smart, C. and Shipman, R. (2004) 'Visions in Monochrome: Families, Marriage and the Individualization Thesis. British Journal of Sociology. 55(4).

Deacon, A. and Williams F. (eds.) (2004) Care, Values and the Future of Welfare. Themed Section Social Policy and Society, 4(3). Cambridge University Press, October 2004. 

Duncan, S. and Smith, D. (2002) 'Geographies of Family Formations: Spatial Differences and Gender Cultures in Britain'. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 27(4).

Williams, F. and Roseneil, S. (eds.) (2004) 'New Contexts for Collective Action: The Politics of Parenting, Partnering and Participation'. Special Issue of Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society,11(2). Oxford University Press.

Roseneil, S. and Budgeon, S. (eds.) (2004) 'Beyond the Conventional Family: Intimacy, Care and Community in the 21st Century'. Special Issue of Current Sociology , 52(2). Sage.

Hollway, W. (2006) The Capacity to Care, Routledge.

Fiona Williams (1999) 'Good-Enough Principles for Welfare' Journal of Social Policy, 28(4).

Fiona Williams (2001) 'In and beyond New Labour: towards a new political ethic of care' in Critical Social Policy Issue 21(4).

Fiona Williams (2005) 'A good enough life: developing a political ethic of care',  in Soundings: a journal of politics and culture Issue 30, Summer 2005. 

Fiona Williams (2006) 'L'etica del prendersi cura: la frontiera delle politiche sociali', in La rivista del lavoro sociale. 6(1). April 2006.

Fiona Williams (2006) 'The personal and political ethics of care'. Concept: The Journal of Contemporary Community Education Practice Theory, 16(1).