This chapter provides a theoretical framework for understanding how traditional beliefs in family responsibility for social welfare persist even in the face of unmet need. It begins by describing the ideology of family responsibility for long-term care and draws on the socio-legal literature on legal consciousness to theorize how the ideology is reproduced and under what conditions it might be challenged. The chapter draws on two concepts—politicization and discursive integration—to help illuminate what prevents oppositional understandings of social welfare needs from developing into political demand for social policy reform. It then considers the unique challenges of studying a negative case, where what needs to be explained is not the emergence of collective action, but the persistence of nonaction. Finally, the chapter elaborates on the case of long-term care and discusses the design and methods used in the study.
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