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Places of difference: narratives of heart-felt warmth, ethnicisation, and female care-migrants in Swiss live-in care


Pelzelmayer, Katharina (2016). Places of difference: narratives of heart-felt warmth, ethnicisation, and female care-migrants in Swiss live-in care. Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 23(12):1701-1712.

Abstract

Care for the elderly is a contemporary issue of multi-level, feminist concern. In Switzerland, private agencies offer so-called 24-h care services, for which they place or employ mobile women as live-in caregivers in private households. The larger discourse has debated care workers’ movements to Switzerland with much controversy. The article explores this interest in issues of mobility and place in an analysis of three central narratives within the larger discourse: care agencies’ ‘warmth’ discourse, scholarship’s uses of ‘ethnicisation’, and public discussions of ‘female care migrants’. Analysis of the narratives shows how care agencies ascribe care workers a particular ‘heart-felt warmth’ based on their so-called countries of origin. Scholarship’s reference to processes of ‘ethnicisation’ in live-in care illustrates a similar focus on care workers’ characteristics, nation-states, and nationalities. While the public discussion of care workers as ‘female care migrants’ frames care workers’ movements as a migration between discreet and distant places. The article argues that the ways in which the three narratives emphasise the places associated with care workers position these places in terms of difference. From a feminist perspective, this focus on difference is of underlying significance for the perpetuation of fundamental inequities in live-in care. In particular, the discursive differentiation between nation states serves to continually justify lower pay for workers associated with ‘other’ places. As such, the article’s analysis suggests that the discursive invocation of places of difference underlies the marked inequities in Swiss live-in care.

Abstract

Care for the elderly is a contemporary issue of multi-level, feminist concern. In Switzerland, private agencies offer so-called 24-h care services, for which they place or employ mobile women as live-in caregivers in private households. The larger discourse has debated care workers’ movements to Switzerland with much controversy. The article explores this interest in issues of mobility and place in an analysis of three central narratives within the larger discourse: care agencies’ ‘warmth’ discourse, scholarship’s uses of ‘ethnicisation’, and public discussions of ‘female care migrants’. Analysis of the narratives shows how care agencies ascribe care workers a particular ‘heart-felt warmth’ based on their so-called countries of origin. Scholarship’s reference to processes of ‘ethnicisation’ in live-in care illustrates a similar focus on care workers’ characteristics, nation-states, and nationalities. While the public discussion of care workers as ‘female care migrants’ frames care workers’ movements as a migration between discreet and distant places. The article argues that the ways in which the three narratives emphasise the places associated with care workers position these places in terms of difference. From a feminist perspective, this focus on difference is of underlying significance for the perpetuation of fundamental inequities in live-in care. In particular, the discursive differentiation between nation states serves to continually justify lower pay for workers associated with ‘other’ places. As such, the article’s analysis suggests that the discursive invocation of places of difference underlies the marked inequities in Swiss live-in care.

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Other titles:Lugares de diferencia: narrativas de calidez sincera, etnificación y migrantes mujeres cuidadoras con cama adentro en Suiza 地方差异:由衷的温暖、族裔化和瑞士居家照护的女性看护移工
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:2016
Deposited On:27 Dec 2016 07:49
Last Modified:27 Dec 2016 07:49
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0966-369X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2016.1249351

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