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Sending Granny to Chiang Mai: debating global outsourcing of care for the elderly


Schwiter, Karin; Brütsch, Jill; Pratt, Geraldine (2019). Sending Granny to Chiang Mai: debating global outsourcing of care for the elderly. Global Networks:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

This article ties in with existing discussions on global care chains, family separation and the devaluation of social-reproductive work. We explore the new trend of outsourcing care for the elderly to countries with lower wages. We base our analysis on the debate in the German press and supplement it with insights from ethnographic field observations in two care homes in Thailand. We identify a discourse of abandonment, which shows how outsourcing the care of the elderly unsettles the privilege of sedentarism that is often taken for granted in the Global North. Furthermore, the newspaper articles tend to villainize people who seek care for their loved ones abroad. We argue that both discourses foster a neoliberal rationale of individualized responsibility and obfuscate the deep systemic roots of the care crisis in the Global North. However, by extending the discussion on outsourcing care for the elderly beyond the dominant media discourses, we envisage a rich potential for provoking political debate on the revaluation of care.

Abstract

This article ties in with existing discussions on global care chains, family separation and the devaluation of social-reproductive work. We explore the new trend of outsourcing care for the elderly to countries with lower wages. We base our analysis on the debate in the German press and supplement it with insights from ethnographic field observations in two care homes in Thailand. We identify a discourse of abandonment, which shows how outsourcing the care of the elderly unsettles the privilege of sedentarism that is often taken for granted in the Global North. Furthermore, the newspaper articles tend to villainize people who seek care for their loved ones abroad. We argue that both discourses foster a neoliberal rationale of individualized responsibility and obfuscate the deep systemic roots of the care crisis in the Global North. However, by extending the discussion on outsourcing care for the elderly beyond the dominant media discourses, we envisage a rich potential for provoking political debate on the revaluation of care.

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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
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Social Sciences
Language:English
Date:25 February 2019
Deposited On:13 Mar 2019 13:37
Last Modified:14 Mar 2019 08:34
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1470-2266
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/glob.12231

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Language: English
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Embargo till: 2021-02-25