Sunwoo Ryu

My general academic interests lie in the field of child- and family-related policies, especially regarding the following facets:

  • Modalities of family policy practices in terms of the nexus of relations between the state, the market and the family, and among family members
  • Key driving forces of family policy reforms (e.g. declining fertility and population ageing, women’s increasing participation in the labour market and the resulting care deficit, changing socio-cultural values and gender norms, and other global social policy exigencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • Discursive constructions and the making of policies for families with children
  • Policy impacts on family lives and experiences

In terms of regional interest, my scholarly focus is on East Asian societies compared to European societies, especially in regard to:

  • Politics surrounding social welfare since the democratic transition in the face of endogenous pressures and exogenous shocks
  • The legacy of Confucianism and developmentalism and its impact on policy reforms

These academic interests led me to develop my doctoral research project (2017-2022), which problematised the nature and politics of childcare policy reforms in 21st century South Korea in the face of precipitously changing socio-demographic and political environments. My two postdoctoral research projects (2022-2023) moved beyond East Asia and probed child- and family policies in Eurasia and other Western welfare states in a cross-national comparative context. The first research project (Child-related Policy During COVID-19) built new databases on and investigated child-related policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in 40 EU and/or OECD countries in regard to six areas during 2020 (income support, food-related provisions, childcare, education, parental leave and health). In the second research project (rEUsilience)—that aims to understand families’ differential capacities to respond to socio-economic and other risks in different European countries—my contribution was focused on the analysis of the constellation of cash benefits for families.

For more details about these research projects and others, please see my publication record.