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Welfare and Self Care

Institutionalized Visions for a Good Life in Danish Day-care Centres

Eva Gulløv

Using the case of early childcare institutions in contemporary Denmark, the aim of the article is to show that welfare entails visions of living that are made manifest through the requirements of everyday institutional practices. The main argument is that welfare institutions are designed not only to take care of people's basic needs but also to enable them to fare well in accordance with the dominant norms of society. This is particularly evident in the case of children. Children are objects of intense normative attention and are invested in as no other social group in order to ensure their enculturation. Therefore, studying the collective investments in children, for example by paying attention to the institutional arrangements set up for them, offers insight into dominant cultural priorities and hoped-for outcomes.

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Wendy Luttrell

This paper is based on longitudinal, ethnographic research with young people from ages 10-18 growing up in urban, low-income, immigrant communities of color and how they represented their everyday lives and family-school relationships through photography and video. The author analyzes the similarities and differences between the boys’ and girls’ perceptions, participation in, and representations of their care worlds and how this shapes their identities. The article features the themes of love, care and solidarity that were central to the boys’ understandings and identities, re-casting widely held assumptions about the crisis of Black boyhood that preoccupy current educational discourse.

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"Veteran care"

Shifting provision, needs, and meanings of enterprise-centered pensioner care in eastern Germany

Tatjana Thelen

This article examines the ways in which different actors in eastern Germany incorporate socialist veteran care into the new economic and organizational framework of the trade union, the housing cooperative, and the reformed state enterprise itself. The complexities of the different meanings of this care are linked to the rapid socioeconomic changes in eastern Germany, which have challenged both expectations of the future as well as personal identities. The analysis describes the complex shifts in the source of provision and its regulation, which go beyond simple state/nonstate or formal/informal dichotomies. With unification social security practices have lost their previous material significance for former employees, but simultaneously have gained emotional value because they help to assure biographical continuity. These processes (re)create familiarity and community amid the profound economic restructuring after socialism.

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Caring for men in contemporary Russia

Gendered constructions of need and hybrid forms of social security

Rebecca Kay

This article explores gendered constructions of care and need and the ways in which these affect men's social security in contemporary Russia. It is suggested that gendered caring practices, besides overburdening women and devaluing their labor, also contribute to a trivialization of men's needs and their marginalization in, and/or exclusion from, complex forms of social security. Social security is understood to encompass both material and emotional support structures and networks, involving both state and nonstate actors. It is argued that hybrid forms of provision are emerging, with new actors challenging and blurring strict categorizations of state/nonstate, formal/informal, and material/ emotional in their contribution to social security. The article draws on a study of the Altai Regional Crisis Center for Men and its attempts to identify men's needs for social support, to provide appropriate forms of care, and to enhance the social security of men in the Altai Region of Western Siberia.

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Surfacing Moves

Spatial-Timings of Senior Home Care

Peter A. Lutz

Like many countries, Sweden faces the challenge of population aging and senior care. Compared with institutionalized health care, senior home care offers a viable option, promising familiar surroundings and lower costs. However, those performing senior home care sometimes resist time-management policies that pressure such care in practice. Some scholars analyze this situation as opposition between 'objective' and 'subjective' time. This article takes a different route. It explores how time surfaces in Swedish senior home care through relational movements of care. These enlist things such as schedules, machines, and aging bodies. To this end, the article also experiments with 'surfacing' as an ethnographic heuristic for figuring these different 'spatial-timings'. The article concludes that surfacing matters not only in senior home care but also in the field-desks of ethnographic analysis.

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Elder care in the new Russia

The changing face of compassionate social security

Melissa L. Caldwell

Changing emigration and co-residence patterns in the post-Soviet period have left many elderly Russians living alone or without caretakers in close proximity. In addition, Russia's transition from state socialism to neoliberal capitalism has encouraged private welfare groups, often funded and staffed by foreigners, to assume increased responsibility for providing social security to elderly people. Consequently, notions of compassion are undergoing transformation in Russia, and the types of people who provide care are also changing dramatically as caregivers are more likely to be strangers, and especially foreigners, rather than family members. This article examines social security arrangements among Russia's elderly, with particular emphasis on the emergence of transnational caregiving relationships, and how these caregiving arrangements differ from global care networks reported elsewhere.

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Images of Care, Boundaries of the State

Volunteering and Civil Society in Czech Health Care

Rosie Read

This article examines how boundaries of the state are negotiated and projected in Czech health care volunteering. Hospital regimes and the professional care provided by doctors and nurses are widely imagined as a domain of intensified state authority, a legacy of state socialism. I explore attempts by NGO actors, hospitals, and local government officials involved in three Czech volunteer programs to create alternative, non-medicalized forms of patient care as civil society, thereby reproducing the boundary between state and non-state that characterized civil society discourses of the 1990s in the region. Yet unlike those discourses and the anthropological analyses they have informed, this process of boundary making does not constitute the state and civil society as inevitably antagonistic or competitive entities.

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Migrant Care Workers in Israel

Between Family, Market, and State

Hila Shamir

In the early 1990s, Israel opened its gates to migrant guest workers who were invited to work, on a temporary basis, in the agriculture, construction, and in-home care sectors. The in-home care sector developed quickly during those years due to the introduction of migrant workers coupled with the creation of a new welfare state benefit: a longterm care benefit that subsidized the employment of in-home care workers to assist dependent elderly and disabled Israelis. This article examines the legal and public policy ramifications of the transformation of Israeli families caused by the influx of migrant care workers into Israeli homes. Exploring the relationship between welfare, immigration, and employment laws, on the one hand, and marketized and non-marketized care relationships, on the other, it reveals the intimate links between public policy, 'private' families, and defamilialization processes.

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Dani Filc

The language of rights is increasingly used to regulate access to health care and allocation of resources in the health care field. The right to health has been grounded on different theories of justice. Scholars within the liberal tradition have grounded the right to health care on Rawls's two principles of justice. Thus, the right to health care has been justified as being one of the basic liberties, as enabling equality of opportunity, or as being justified by the maximin principle. In this article, Filc analyzes—from a radical egalitarian standpoint—the limitations of the different attempts to ground an equal right to health on Rawls's theory of justice and offers a first approximation to a radical egalitarian formulation of the right to health.

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Rachel Kurian and Chihiro Uchiyama

This article argues that the social quality approach can be usefully applied to studying “models of elderly care“ that enhance the wellbeing of the elderly and empower them to participate in social activities. Examining three cases in Japan and another three cases in e Netherlands, the study identifies actors, institutions and processes that have provided services for the elderly, highlighting the importance of history and culture in influencing the “social“ of the elderly. The article deals with a range of opportunities and possibilities for optimizing care for the elderly, both as individuals and as a group, through promoting their social inclusion, social cohesion, socio-economic security and social empowerment. Grounded in community networks, as well as in social and intergenerational interaction, these “models“ demonstrate how care-givers, including nurses and family members, are also empowered in these processes. These discussions, reflecting empirical reality and conceptual insights, provide the basis of sustainable welfare policies that improve the social quality of the elderly.