Accepted paper:

Shifting long-term care: shifting kinship?

Author:

Jolanda Lindenberg (Leyden Academy on Vitality and Ageing)

Paper short abstract:

Dutch long-term care is shifting to a “participation society” in which personal networks are increasingly appealed upon. This paper explores the use of home, family and “fictive kin” concepts in an institutional care setting and discusses implications of this for our conceptualization of kinship.

Paper long abstract:

The Netherlands has often been described as a strong welfare state; one that has relied on institutionalized care for its ageing population. Although research shows that in reality care ideals and practices may divert from this portrayed image. Currently a more drastic shift in long term care regulations and provision is initiated by changes in long term care funding. Responsibilities and expectations are being reoriented and usual care is to be provided by relatives. A reliance on family members, however, is not necessarily evident given changes in kinship arrangements and long-standing care ideals in the past decades. In this paper, I explore how terms of relatedness and kinship are dealt with in an institutional care setting that is affected by these macro-governmental changes. Based on fieldwork in a residential care facility, I will analyse how in this setting home- and family-like concepts are invoked and how these are experienced by the older individuals living there and by their relatives. I will further delve into this "alternative" future of kinship by exploring the use of kinship terms by older residents with a particular focus on the use of what is commonly distinguished as "fictive kin" (Mc Rae 1992) or "voluntary kin" (Braithwaite et al. 2010). How is the use of kin terms for non-kin and what does it mean? How does it relate to a take-over of this institutional setting of roles that were once fulfilled by relatives? And what are the implications for the study of kinship in anthropology?

panel P040
Re-conceptualising kinship and relatedness in an ageing world [MAN]