Earlier TOR-research stresses the important function of paid work for the social integration of individuals. Labor is important, if not essential for the development of a social orientation and feeling of solidarity with others. Furthermore it was found to be an important source of (abstract) social contacts, it structures the individual and social time and is an indispensable soil for the social tissue of a society.
The doctoral research of Vanderweyden challenges a number of the central propositions of the TOR-research into the meaning of working. In her dissertation she questions the proposition that paid labor is the best social integrator under all circumstances. According to her paid labor is not as indispensable regarding social integration of individuals as is generally accepted. It even appears that retired workers, house wives and part-time working people experience their life situation in a more positive way than their (full-time) employed counterparts.
The research group 'Cultuur en Welzijn' at the UA/PSW and the research group TOR at the VUB look to share their particular expertise to further investigate the issue of work and non-work on the social integration of individuals. Therefore we will look upon the social integration processes of men and women who consciously and/or temporarily reduce their labor market participation.
A survey among 1600 Flemish career interrupters will be held: 400 male and 400 female fulltime career interrupters as well as 400 male and 400 female part-time career interrupters. A control group of 400 fulltime working Flemings will complete the sample. Half of the career interrupters – equally spread over the different strata – will be asked to fill out time-budget diaries (there is no need for a control group with regards to the time-use aspect, since the results can be compared to a representative sample of Flemings that will be recorded in 2004). Since the TOR/VUB holds the expertise of time-budget research, the technically demanding analyses of the time-budget diaries will be carried out there. The main focus at the UA will lie with the analysis of the questionnaire.
The combination of the extended questionnaire and the time-budget diaries will provide a unique insight into the life situation of the population that voluntarily opt for a temporary reduction of paid labor.