EASA2016: Anthropological legacies and human futures

(P091)
Cross-cutting care and care across cuts: dimensions of care in contexts of crisis and social change
Location U7-14
Date and Start Time 22 July, 2016 at 09:00
Sessions 2

Convenors

  • Antónia Pedroso de Lima ( ISCTE-IUL / CRIA ) email
  • Rosie Read (Bournemouth University) email

Mail All Convenors

Discussant Heike Drotbohm

Short Abstract

Economic crises in different parts of the world turned dependency into social risk and care into political concern. As institutional social support fail to guarantee daily survival, new configurations of mutuality emerge cutting across boundaries of class, region and nation. How is care redefined?

Long Abstract

Different types of crisis are spreading throughout the world forcing an increasingly part of the population to face a threat to its daily survival. In this conjuncture as the old local frameworks of social support (state or personal) continue to thrive, new configurations of mutuality and care are emerging.

In a world where people circulate profusely, care is being reshaped and is being given between people who are physically in different places, and in different parts of the world. These processes of "care" through different spaces and scales - personal/institutional, national/transnational, urban/rural formal/informal care - constitute a fertile terrain for reflecting upon broader social questions: the conditions of sociality and mutuality; the nature of social and moral responsibility; the relation between national politics and the global economic system.

Ethnography rends visible the frameworks of interpersonal and institutional relations that make possible both livelihoods and social support. Analyzing the ways in which the crisis affects people and their livelihoods, transforming them, and their social networks, in ways that seem to translate social life itself, we aim at constituting a critical perspective that overcomes the simplistic dichotomy between particular livelihoods and contemporary global capitalist societies.

To debate these different dimensions and forms of care, we call for papers addressing how different forms of care are constituted in several social, spatial and political levels? How do people care for themselves, their significant ones? How is "care" redefined in these global practices of caring?

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Chronic illness and institutional care: navigating the low-income quota system in contemporary urban India

Author: Lesley Branagan (Leipzig University)  email

Short Abstract

When notions and practices of care differ radically across different spaces and scales that care-seekers must traverse and make intersect - family, national policy, the global medical market – care practices become non-linear responses to crises caused by shifting institutional and market priorities.

Long Abstract

In contemporary urban India, the responsibility for institutional health care is shifted by government onto the private sector, via schemes that require private hospitals to fulfill quotas to treat people on low incomes. When daily survival for chronic diabetes patients depends on ongoing access to dialysis machines housed in institutions, how do low-income families experience the quota system in order to access treatment to which they are entitled, but are often denied?

By highlighting the experience of one Delhi family's exhaustive search for sustainable ongoing dialysis treatment for their ailing mother, this paper investigates the debilitating effects on care-seekers when notions and practices of care differ radically across the different spaces and scales that they are required to traverse and to make intersect: local family care with its social support; national policy which formulates notions of entitlement to treatment; and the global medical market that frames aspirations yet subverts patient expectations about right to treatment by acting according to market concerns.

Care-seeking becomes redefined as a practice of maneuvering through ever-shifting frameworks of interpersonal and institutional relations, neoliberal forces and hidden agendas, where access depends on capacity to leverage social networks and political connections. Care practices become a non-linear set of responses to crises caused by shifting institutional and medical market priorities. The larger the scale of care sought, the conditions of mutuality decline, and the social, moral and physical responsibility for care is deflected back onto the family, whose lives are profoundly transformed in response to illness.

Neo-liberalization of moral networks of care: Transformation of the role of primary caregivers in public hospitals in Turkey

Author: Basak Can (Koc University )  email

Short Abstract

This paper explores how Turkey’s integration into moral neoliberal order (i.e. commercialization of healthcare and a greater reliance on the family) restructures the role of the family caregivers as well as the reciprocal networks of care between the patient, the patient’s kin and medical apparatus.

Long Abstract

All inpatients in public hospitals of Turkey are expected to have a refakatci i.e. primary caregiver staying with them at every stage of medical intervention and treatment. Refakatci, who is usually a female relative, attend not only the emotional and personal care needs of the patient, but also technical and material needs of treatment such as providing basic medical equipment and hygiene conditions. It is through their exhausting labor-intensive and intimate caring practices that the patient encounters biomedical apparatus, and experiences her illness. Day-to-day operations of hospitals are dependent on refakatci labor as well. This paper explores practical, emotional, and political dimensions of the gendered, institutionally taken-for-granted care labor of refakatcis for their loved ones in hospital settings. Rather than juxtaposing different logics of care and reproducing the intimate vs. medical dichotomy, this paper traces material, technological and medical forms of intimate care provided by refakatci in a medical care setting. Against the backdrop of Turkey's rapid integration into moral neoliberal order that not only brings about commercialization of healthcare but also causes a greater reliance on local networks of social support primarily that of the family; the figure of refakatci provides an important analytical lens to understand collaboration between different modalities of care and novel configurations of dependency and reciprocity between the patient, the patient's kin, and medical apparatus. This paper thus seeks to underscore the inseparability of the cognitive, evidence-based medical processes from embodied, material and intimate processes, and how they are interwoven in the practice of refakatci.

Helpline or Call Centre? Volunteered counselling and performance management at ChildLine, UK

Author: Rosie Read (Bournemouth University)  email

Short Abstract

This paper considers the efforts of a UK children’s charity to improve the performance of its volunteers who provide counselling care to children in distress. Analysis draws on anthropological debates on the production and moralisation of unpaid caring labour within neoliberalism.

Long Abstract

This paper is based on ethnographic research at ChildLine, a free, 24/7 national helpline for children up to the age of 18 in the UK. ChildLine trains its own counsellors, many of whom go on to work as unpaid volunteers who counsel children by phone and online, on issues such as sexual, physical and emotional abuse, neglect, bullying and self-harm. In 2007 ChildLine obtained a government grant to upgrade its telecommunication systems. In return, the government required the charity to improve what was regarded as 'poor' answer rates - insisting that the charity meet the national demand of children and young people for its counselling services. Consequently, ChildLine adopted call centre technologies to forecast demand more accurately and tightened the management and audit of its counsellors' performance. This paper analyses the reframing of volunteers' contribution of time and unpaid counselling labour, from something for which the organisation was unconditionally grateful (on behalf of children) to something volunteers 'owed' in return for the organisation's investment in training them. Exploring volunteers' and managers' perceptions of these developments within a wider economy of volunteered caring work, I consider what this case illustrates about the production and dissolution of the volunteer as a moral subject under neoliberal conditions.

The contested moralities of Cape Verdean care

Author: Elizabeth Challinor (CRIA/UM Centre for the Study of Social Anthropology, University of Minho)  email

Short Abstract

In the Cape Verdean context where institutional social support has never been sufficient to guarantee daily survival, the paper examines the different contested moralities underlying local and transnational forms of care.

Long Abstract

In the Cape Verdean context where institutional social support has never been sufficient to guarantee daily survival, the paper examines how Cape Verdean care relations are expressed and experienced through the idioms of kinship, gender and class and analyzes the tensions in the moralities of informal, neighbourhood and intergenerational care systems.

What does it mean to be a "good" neighbour or a "good" mother, father, daughter or son? Who deserves to be cared for and who is responsible for providing care? How do these ideas relate with wealth differentiation, the ability to reciprocate and cultural representations of idealized lifestyles? How do different caring opportunities and forced caring practices transform or reproduce differences between kin and non-kin relations, classes, and genders?

Based on fieldwork carried out in Cape Verde (Santiago Island) and amidst Cape Verdean students in northern Portugal, the paper will endeavour to address these questions through an examination of the diverse ways in which individuals manage the moral, emotional and economic expectations and frustrations of different forms of care in their experiences of migration and (im)mobility. By including, in its analysis, the care given between people who are physically in different places, the paper also elucidates the role played by mobility imaginings in the inter-subjective, emotional entanglements between experiences of mobility and immobility.

Immigration and elderly care in Italy and Brazil

Author: Guita Grin Debert (UNICAMP (State University of Campinas))  email

Short Abstract

This paper focuses on a comparative analysis of elderly care in Brazil and Italy. Through an ethnographic approach, the aim is to discuss the way in which new forms of professional care redefines dependence, gives new meaning to family relationships, to state obligations and to domestic life.

Long Abstract

The aim of the presentation is to discuss the way in which care of the elderly is gaining specific configurations in both Brazil and Italy. The focus is on the migration of women from Latin America and Eastern Europe to work with home care of the elderly in Italy and on new Brazilian law regarding domestic work and on the debates about profissionalization of elderly caregivers. Through an ethnographic approach and based on field research conducted in Bologna (Italy) and in São Paulo (Brazil) with caregivers and their employers the aim of this paper is to discuss: (1) the configuration of this new growing market that responds to the rapid aging of the world's population;(2) how categories of gender, age and nationality are active producers of differentiation and inequality; (3) how the visibility gained by the duo combining two unwanted populations - the elderly and immigrants - redefines forms of dependence, gives new meaning to family relationships, to obligations of the state and to domestic life. The discussion of each of these topics is guided by a doubly comparative perspective: family relations in Brazil marked by the presence of domestic workers and the transnational sex industry and the global care industry

Care across borders: economic crises and social justice

Author: Silvia Bofill (University of Barcelona)  email

Short Abstract

The aim of this paper is to explore meanings of social justice related to care practices in Spain. Specifically, I will explore the ways how the notion of social justice is being redefined within the context of the economic crisis, affecting social practices and decision-making.

Long Abstract

The aim of this paper is to explore meanings of social justice related to care practices in Spain. As a result of the so-called 'crisis of care' affecting northern societies, care responsibilities have been significantly relocated among families, the State and the market. In Spain, as in many other northern countries, care has been increasingly assumed by migrant women coming from the south. Although these women play an important role at reproducing social order -as Feminist economics has pointed out- they work and live in very precarious conditions and extreme legal vulnerability. Most of them are irregular and work in informal economy, as domestic and care work is still a low-regulated sector. They are also subjected to racial and class prejudices. From a global perspective, that relates with a process of transfer of responsibilities among women across nations, which actually entails a process of stratified reproduction. Economic crisis and austerity policies have deeply affected living conditions of the population, having an impact over care practices and strategies. In this paper I want to explore, from an ethnographic perspective, the way how notions of social justice are being redefined within this context, affecting social practices and decision-making. That connects to the theoretical debate about the nature of oppression (from a class, gender and ethnic perspective) and global justice.

Peasant friends, greedy entrepreneurs and corrupt officials? Caring for food safety in China

Author: Christof Lammer (University of Vienna)  email

Short Abstract

I propose to analyse food networks starting with a focus on care practices. The case of a peasant cooperative in China shows how the production of ‘safe food’ is based on a complex interplay of care practices usually attributed to separate domains and, hence, conflicting stereotypes.

Long Abstract

Following recent food scares, the issue of safe food, instead of simply enough food, emerged in post-Mao China. Alongside state regulation and market-oriented certification schemes, personal relationships between 'conscious consumers' and their 'peasant friends' are proposed as possible solutions. Studies of so-called 'alternative' food networks tend to claim that we witness a shift from state and market to civil society. Interestingly, mutual material benefits tend not to be viewed as contradicting trustworthy personal relationships as long as 'real peasants' are involved. In contrast, state support and involvement of entrepreneurs and officials tend to be understood as corrupting rather than benefiting 'alternative' food values and initiatives. In order to move beyond dichotomies and related assumptions, I propose to analyse food networks starting with a focus on care practices. The case of a peasant cooperative in Sichuan Province shows how the production of 'healthy food' becomes possible because rather than in spite of intersections of practices usually attributed to separate domains and, hence, conflicting stereotypes. Distrusting the state and certification schemes, urban consumers organise in associations looking for 'peasant friends'. A township official committed to ecological agriculture provides the pivotal link, appearing credible to the middle class consumers by downplaying his state role. Furthermore, the production of 'safe food' in the village is based on a complex interplay of various actors' care practices that are not primarily focused on a common goal of producing healthy food and an improved environment.

Care, support and solidarity in times of crises: precariousness among Portuguese middle class families

Author: Antónia Pedroso de Lima ( ISCTE-IUL / CRIA )  email

Short Abstract

Departing from a discussion on the different dimensions and forms of care among Portuguese middle class families, this paper will examine how people integrate informal systems of care to deal with the precariousness produced by austerity policies and ensure their subsistence.

Long Abstract

Since 2011 Portugal is undergoing a wide socio-economic crisis. Approaches to the Portuguese crisis are usually centered on its economic and political character. Departing from a discussion on the different dimensions and forms of care, in this paper I shall examine how people integrate formal and informal systems of care to deal with the precariousness produced by austerity policies and ensure their subsistence. I undertake a case study of interpersonal support networks and from there I explore the wider repercussions of these activities that (re)appeared in contemporary Portugal where grassroots familial and social welfare projects are organized in order to address hardships in the actors' livelihoods. Through an ethnographic study of these activities among Portuguese middle class families, in the paper I argue that such activities not only tackle the immediate effects of the crisis but also reveal new social and economic meanings of care, support and solidarity practices.

Focusing simultaneously on interpersonal relationships, public policies and economic interests and how they intersect with each other I will debate the role of personal networks and how the informal practices driven by collective responsibility are sustainability factors in Portugal in times of crises.

Care in times of crisis: men as caretakers of dependent people

Authors: Dolors Comas-d'Argemir (University Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona)  email
Maria Montserrat Soronellas Masdeu (Rovira i Virgili University)  email

Short Abstract

The care crisis and the economic crisis force some men to take part in care jobs, paid or unpaid, as caretakers of dependent people. We discuss the impact of the participation of men in care work in terms of reducing gender inequalities, as well as facing the increasing care needs.

Long Abstract

This paper is focused on the incorporation of men in care work in the context of the care crisis and the economic crisis. The care crisis originates in the collapse of families in general and women in particular in their capacity to take care of adult dependant people. In Spain, this is specially linked to an 'ageing of ageing' that increases care needs. On the other hand, the economic crisis and the austerity policies have raised unemployment and poverty, worsened by the reduction of services and benefits for long term care. We suggest that this twofold crisis forces some men to take part in care jobs, paid or unpaid. In this scenario of economic and social crisis, the refamiliarization of care, the use of a poorly paid migrant labour force, and the expansion of commercial care services lead to a growth of social inequality. The most vulnerable sectors experience a double care crisis, since they experience more health problems; they cannot buy services in the market, have more difficulty maintaining employment, and become more impoverished in this process. Our argumentation is linked to the current qualitative and interdisciplinary research into this subject that we are conduction in Catalonia (Spain). In this paper, we discuss the impact of the participation of men in care work in terms of reducing gender inequalities, as well as facing the increasing care needs. Furthermore, we will analyse how the participation of men in caretaking affects its recognition and redistribution.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.