Care as sustainability Portugal in times of crisis: between welfare-state and interpersonal relationships
Antónia Pedroso de Lima
Paper short abstract:
This paper will debate how care can be a factor of sustainability. Based in field work done in Portugal we will analyze how informal practices sometimes support national economies, how people engage simultaneously in formal and informal systems of care and how these strategies are so effective in producing an effective way to overcome crisis situations.
Paper long abstract:
Portugal is undergoing a socio economic crisis (with increasing rates of unemployment, low family income, a significant immigrant population, and a growing aged population) that increases pressures on a range of social services. Faced with the failing capability of state care systems to continue to provide support, as well as funding cuts imposed by the international economic crisis, people (re)turn to informal ways to address the problem. This 'state of emergency' also stimulates creativity and innovation, not only at the economic but also in social and moral realms which are easily overlooked by economic studies of crisis situations. Bearing in mind the danger of presenting an overly harmonious view of social care systems this paper debate how informal practices sometimes support national economies, how people engage simultaneously in formal and informal systems of care and how these strategies are so effective in producing an effective way to face crisis situations. Care thus becomes a factor of economic sustainability (helping to overcome precarious situations); a factor of social sustainability (providing to people in need); and also of emotional sustainability (well being).
Towards an anthropology of sustainability?