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This volume is a comparative study of family change in Europe and its dependency on social policy regimes. The authors explore family discourse, family law, single parents, gender relations, the ""new fathers"", divorce, and abortion within the framework of national policies vis-a-vis the family. Conventional wisdom assumes that policy decisions affecting the life situation of a population shape different opportunities for private living, particularly in relation to children and the family. But, the authors argue, it would be too simplistic to assume a direct causal link between welfare policies for the family and developments in the family sector. Family change is in fact mediated by institutional factors as well as by cultural traditions and political intervention. The chapters in this volume deal with the substantial and methodological problems of ascertaining the impact of different national policy regimes on family change.