Barbara Hobson

Professor Emerita

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Works at Department of Sociology
Telephone 08-16 31 16
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 B, plan 9
Room B 844
Postal address Sociologiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

Barbara Hobson is professor Emerita of Sociology at Stockholm University, having held the Professor’s Chair in sociology with a specialization in gender research (sociologi med inriktning mot genusforskning) since 1998. Her research has spanned a range of fields in political sociology and gender, including welfare regimes, citizenship, social movements and diversity.  She has coordinated many international projects, three of which became seminal books in the field of gender: Making Men into Fathers: Men, Masculinities and the Politics of Fatherhood (Cambridge Univ Press, 2002); Recognition Struggles and Social Movement: Cultural Claims, Contested Identities and Power and Agency (Cambridge University Press 2003); Worklife Balance: The Agency & Capabilities Gap (Oxford University Press 2014). Throughout her work, she has sought to develop theories and conceptual frameworks for understanding how agency and power operate within different institutional layers of social and political life. Over the past years she has engaged with Sen’s capability approach elaborating his agency-centered and multi-dimensional framework in sociological models and applying them to research areas:  women’s employment on childbearing, worklife balance, and more recently, private markets and migrant care/domestic work.  Her current research projects, funded by the Riksbankens Jubeleumsfond and EU FP 7 (FamiliesANDSocieties), address the reconfiguration of states, markets and families/households in welfare states within the context of the widening gap in capabilities resulting from the emergence of private markets for care/domestic, sustained by a low-waged migrant workforce.


She is a founder and senior editor for twenty years (now emerita editor) of Social Politics: International Studies of Gender, State and Society (Oxford University Press), an international journal that has shaped gender research in the social sciences, with its global reach and its comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives.  She has also served on various editorial boards of international journals and continues be active in various international networks, one of which is based at the University of Kyoto in Japan where she was guest professor. She continues to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Journal of Public Spheres and Book Series and is signatory member of the Consortium for the Asian Research Center for the Intimate and the Public. In addition she is a current member of the Research Committee on "Poverty, Social Welfare,­ and Social Policy (RC 19) of the International Sociological­  Association” and a network member of the International Work Family Research Network (WFRN).

She will be a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, 2017-2018.


Books and Book Projects

Worklife Balance: The agency & Capabilities Gap. Oxford University press, 2014. Paperback 2015.

Recognition Struggles and Social Movements: Cultural Claims, Contested Identities, Power and Agency. Cambridge University. Press. 2003

Making Men into Fathers: Men. Masculinities, and the Social Politics of Fatherhood. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Uneasy Virtue: The Politics of Prostitution and the American ¬Reform Tradition. Paperback edition, with a new introduction. University of Chicago Press, 1990.

Selected Published Articles (English publications)

Hearn, J and Hobson, B. Gender, State and Citizenships, in Handbook of Political Sociololgy, eds. J, Misra and T. Janoski, Oxford University Press, forthcoming. 2018

Hobson B, Hellgren Z and Serrano I. Migrants, markets and domestic work: Do institutional contexts matter in the personal household service sector? Journal of European Social Policy, 2018:

Hobson, B. Gendered Dimensions and Capabilities: Opportunities, Dilemmas and Challenges. Critical Sociology, 2016 doi/10.1177/0896920516683232

Hobson, B and L. Bede. Precariousness and Capabilities. Migrant Care/domestic workers in two Institutional Contexts. Theory in Practice. Special Issue Economy and Society.  2015: 53:2.

Estevéz-Abe. M and B. Hobson. Outsourcing Domestic (Care) Work: The Politics, Policies and Political Economy. Social Politics. 2015: 2:2.

Hobson, B. and S Fahlén. Father's Capabilities for Care: A European Perspective. In Family, Ties and Care: Family Transformation in Plural Modernity, eds H. Bertram and N. Elhert: Berlin: Barbara Budrich 2012. (Also translated into German: Familie, Bundungen und Fursorge: Familiärer Wadel in einer veilfätltigen Moderne) (With Susanne Fahlén)

Hobson, B. The Agency Gap in Work-Life Balance: Applying Sen’s Capabilities Framework in European Institutional Contexts.  Social Politics, 2011: 18:2.

Hobson, B and S. Fahlén. Competing Frames in Gender, Family and Responsibility: From rights and obligations to rights and capabilities. In Transforming Families. Regulating Responsibilities: eds. Jo Bridgeman and Heather Keating. Ashgate: Surrey, 2011.

Hobson, B., S Fahlén, and J.Takács. Tensions in Aspirations, Agency and Capabilities to Achieve a Work Family Balance: A comparison of Sweden and Hungary. Social Politics, 2011: 8:2.

Hobson, B. and S Fahlén. Two Scenarios for European Fathers: Adversity and Risk? Opportunities and Agency for a Work Family Balance. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 2009: 624:1.

Hobson, B. and Z. Hellgren. European Exports and Imports: How gender and ethnic minority groups in Sweden use EU institutions and venues. In Gender Issues and Women’s Movements in the Expanding European Union, ed. Birgit Sauer Berghahn Books, 2008

Hellgren, Z and B. Hobson. Cultural Conflict and Cultural Dialogues in the Good Society: The Case of Honour Killings in Sweden. Ethnicities, Special issue eds. A. Phillips and S. Sawitri Sarhasa.2008: 8:3

Hobson, B., Carson, M and Lawrence, R. Recognition Struggles in Trans-national Arenas: Negotiating Identities and Framing Citizenship. Special Issue: Gender and Diversity, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 2007: 8:3 ( reprinted in Contesting Citizenship; eds. Birte Siim and Judith Squires. London Routledge, 2008.

Hobson, B and L, Oláh. Birthstrikes? Agency and capabilities in the reconciliation of employment and family. Journal of Marriage and Family Review 2006: 39:1

Hobson, B. A. Z. Duvander, and K Halldén. Men and Worklife Balance: Which men, which policies and which institutional contexts? In Children, Family Policies and Welfare State Change.  Edward Elgar, ed. Jane Lewis. 2006 (with

Hobson. B. The Evolution of the Women Friendly State: Opportunities and Constraints in the Swedish Welfare State.” In Gender and Social Policy, eds. S. Hassim och Shara Razavi (UNRSID project on Gender and social Policy). Palgrave, 2006.

Hobson, B. Feminist Theories and Feminisms in Political Sociology. In Handbook of Political Sociology: States, Civil Societies and Globalization. eds. T. Janoski, R. Alford, A. Hicks, M. Schwartz. Cambridge University Press, 2005

Hobson, B. The Individual Worker, the Gender Participatory and the Gender Equity Models in Sweden. Social Policy and the Society; 2003: 2:1

Hobson, B. Economic Citizenship: Reflections through the European Policy Mirror in Gender and Citizenship in Transition, ed. B Hobson.

Hobson, B. “The interplay Between Identities and Institutions: The Centrality of Paid Work and Swedish Women’s Mobilization in Periods of Welfare State Expansion and Retrenchment.” In Women in Japan and Sweden: Work and Family in Two Welfare Regimes, eds. C. le Grand and T. Tsukaguchi. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wicksell, 2003.

Hobson, B and R. Lister. Citizenship. In Contested Concepts in Gender and Social Politics. eds. B. Hobson , J. Lewis and B. Siim, Edward Elgar. 2002.

Hobson, B. Women’s Collective Agency, Power Resources and the Framing of Citizenship. In Extending Citizenship: Reconfiguring States, eds. M.Hannagan and C.Tilly. Boulder Colorado: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998.

Hobson, B. and M. Lindholm. “Women's Collectivities, Power Resources and the Making of Welfare States," Theory and Society. 26: 475-508, 1997 ( Reprinted and Translated into German and journals).

Hobson, B. M. Takahashi. Lone Motherhood and Weak Male Breadwinner Models: The Case of Swede. In Lone Mothers and Welfare Policy Regimes, ed. Jane Lewis , London: Jessica Kingsley, 1997

Hobson, B. Welfare Policy Regimes, Solo Mothers, and the Logics of Gender," in Gendering Welfare States, ed. D. Sainsbury. London, Sage 1994.

Gendered Discourses and Feminist Strategies in Welfare States: The Debate Over Married Women's Right to Work in Sweden and the U.S. In Mothers of the New World: Origins of Welfare State in Western Europe and North America, eds. S. Koven and S. Michel, London: Routledge, 1993.

No Exit, No Voice: Married Women's Economic Dependency and the¬ Welfare State, Acta Sociologica, 1990: 33: 3.


Last updated: June 26, 2018

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