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Neoliberal austerity and the marketisation of elderly care


Schwiter, Karin; Berndt, Christian; Truong, Jasmine (2015). Neoliberal austerity and the marketisation of elderly care. Social & Cultural Geography:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Taking the recent debate on austerity as a starting point, this paper discusses contradictions in current processes of neoliberalisation using the marketisation of elderly care in Switzerland as an example. Just as in other countries, an austerity rationality in public spending and the neoliberal restructuring of public health services paved the way for the emergence of private suppliers of 24 hours home care. These new agencies hire migrant women from Eastern European countries and sell packaged care services to the elderly. In so doing, they play a key role in reconfiguring care according to a market logic. They shape the working conditions of live-in migrant care workers and the definition of care itself as a marketable good. In our paper, we analyse the strategies of these new corporate intermediaries based on a market analysis and on interviews with their representatives. We argue that the marketisation of elderly care in Switzerland is illustrative of today’s neoliberalism in that it combines progressive and regressive aspects and owes its emergence to its ambiguous entanglement with many other discourses. The paper illustrates how the transformation of the home into a new space of commercialised care relies on the production and economic valorisation of social and mobility differentials.

Abstract

Taking the recent debate on austerity as a starting point, this paper discusses contradictions in current processes of neoliberalisation using the marketisation of elderly care in Switzerland as an example. Just as in other countries, an austerity rationality in public spending and the neoliberal restructuring of public health services paved the way for the emergence of private suppliers of 24 hours home care. These new agencies hire migrant women from Eastern European countries and sell packaged care services to the elderly. In so doing, they play a key role in reconfiguring care according to a market logic. They shape the working conditions of live-in migrant care workers and the definition of care itself as a marketable good. In our paper, we analyse the strategies of these new corporate intermediaries based on a market analysis and on interviews with their representatives. We argue that the marketisation of elderly care in Switzerland is illustrative of today’s neoliberalism in that it combines progressive and regressive aspects and owes its emergence to its ambiguous entanglement with many other discourses. The paper illustrates how the transformation of the home into a new space of commercialised care relies on the production and economic valorisation of social and mobility differentials.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:25 Nov 2015 14:10
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:32
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1464-9365
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2015.1059473

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