Accepted Paper:

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

Author:

Antónia Pedroso de Lima (ISCTE-IUL CRIA)

Paper 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.

Paper 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.

Panel P091
Cross-cutting care and care across cuts: dimensions of care in contexts of crisis and social change