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Care, pay, love: commodification and the spaces of live-in care


Pelzelmayer, Katharina (2017). Care, pay, love: commodification and the spaces of live-in care. Social & Cultural Geography:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

This paper investigates uses of the concept of commodification in contemporary analyses of waged care. Drawing on theoretical work on commodification and discourse-analytical research on private live-in care in Switzerland, I explore how Swiss live-in care questions central discussions in the literature. Scholars have focused on the ways in which care is embroiled within market relations and the adverse effects of commodification on the character and quality of care. The paper outlines the two central discussions, identifies important limitations and explores the ways in which Swiss live-care contests their underlying assumptions. Swiss live-in care exhibits intricate processes of waging elder care. Live-in care services are offered and arranged on agency websites while taking place at elderly persons’ private households. Elder care thus becomes entangled in market relations both in virtual spaces and at home. Furthermore, live-in care workers do not distance themselves from their work but actively seek to improve their conditions of work. In so doing, they complicate the assumption that paying for care corrupts caregiving or turns it into a product for sale. Based on this evidence from Swiss live-in care, I propose that a careful use of commodification might best serve feminist interventions.

Abstract

This paper investigates uses of the concept of commodification in contemporary analyses of waged care. Drawing on theoretical work on commodification and discourse-analytical research on private live-in care in Switzerland, I explore how Swiss live-in care questions central discussions in the literature. Scholars have focused on the ways in which care is embroiled within market relations and the adverse effects of commodification on the character and quality of care. The paper outlines the two central discussions, identifies important limitations and explores the ways in which Swiss live-care contests their underlying assumptions. Swiss live-in care exhibits intricate processes of waging elder care. Live-in care services are offered and arranged on agency websites while taking place at elderly persons’ private households. Elder care thus becomes entangled in market relations both in virtual spaces and at home. Furthermore, live-in care workers do not distance themselves from their work but actively seek to improve their conditions of work. In so doing, they complicate the assumption that paying for care corrupts caregiving or turns it into a product for sale. Based on this evidence from Swiss live-in care, I propose that a careful use of commodification might best serve feminist interventions.

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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:2017
Deposited On:12 Jun 2017 12:09
Last Modified:12 Jun 2017 12:10
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1464-9365
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2017.1315446

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