Accepted Paper:

Blood ties and strong ties: a two-way linkage  


Giuseppe A. Micheli (Univ. MIlano-Bicocca)
Patrizia Farina (University of Milan Bicocca)
Livia Elisa Ortensi (University of Milan Bicocca)

Paper short abstract:

The pay-care market, relying on a strong asymmetry of bargaining power, can be the entry port of a not commodified relation. Arguing on this shift to equal partnership, we explore the role of catalyst of “intense” relations played by family oriented cultures, bringing East & South Europe closer.

Paper long abstract:

As a rule, the Southern European families managed all critical issues placing them, temporarily or permanently, on the shoulders of some relatives. These spillover processes tend to hinge upon the adult daughters, who carry the burden of their elders, and challenged to reconcile the care with their paid job usually relying on a pay-care market. Since this pay-care market relies on a strong asymmetry of bargaining power to the detriment of care-workers, few studies consider that the contract can also be the entry port of a paid relationship not to be treated as a mere commodity. The distance between employers and care-workers can be overwhelmed by a sort of 'chemical' catalyst, turning market relationships into inclusive partnerships. Aiming to argue on the shift from relations driven by market rules to ties based on inclusion and equal partnership, the a. explore the existence, the relevance and the nature of "catalysts" of high-intensity affective relations. Two specific issues emerge. The first concerns the nature of relationship established in crucial situations where life or death, or identity or the human body are at stake. The other issue regards the peculiarities of the Southern European family models characterized by warm family ties and a patient maternal love of children. The a. explore common cultural patterns in different quadrants of Europe, and hypothesize the existence of variants of "family oriented cultures" that move closer East and South Europe and give reason to the specialization of East European migrants in care-work sector instead of homework.

Panel P011
Family and kinship in contemporary Southern Europe: transformations, convergences and variations in a macro-regional perspective