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The article attempts to locate the contested notion of work-life balance within the context of global trends and recent policy developments. It describes a small-scale qualitative study of work-life balance as it is experienced within a low-income neighbourhood in the UK. The study findings are used to inform reflections on the powerlessness experienced by many working parents seeking to accommodate family life with paid employment; and on the nature of the calculative responsibilities that aredoi:10.1017/s004727940700116x fatcat:ry4srhdzxjbpxky7tbucowe5zu