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Resisting Regulatory Rigidities: Lessons from Front-line Care Work Donna Baines & Tamara Daly

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Presentation on theme: "Resisting Regulatory Rigidities: Lessons from Front-line Care Work Donna Baines & Tamara Daly"— Presentation transcript:

1 Resisting Regulatory Rigidities: Lessons from Front-line Care Work Donna Baines & Tamara Daly

2 Many have argued that ethical practice is not possible within current management + regulatory models. How do we best foster ethical, social justice-linked care?

3 Care, feminist and virtue ethics Ethical care does not happen in a vacuum. Requires a link to wider debates within society about social justice and applied- ethics (social movements + community). Foster conditions under which good care decisions are easy to make – where it is “good to be good”.

4 Certain populations are constructed as needing care rather than recognizing care as something we all do and receive across a lifetime. –De-universalizes + individualizes care –Remakes care as a private “problem”, requiring private solutions –Depoliticizes care: making it a medical issue rather than a struggle for dignity, resources and power

5 Linking power, care and social justice (Nancy Fraser 2010) 1.Redistribution of resources and power 2.Recognition (access to affirming identities and culture) 3.Representation (fair and equitable processes of political representation and voice)

6 Despite regulatory rigidity: Promising Practices *Leaky boundaries/ interconnection/ subsidy *Altruism/ solidarity

7 Recap of our methods METHODS: Rapid ethnography Intensive case studies in nonprofit social services agencies - 2 completed to date Fieldwork – interviews (+50), observations (+36), document review (Baines + Cunningham, 2013) Research question: seeking promising practices in long term care

8 Leaky boundaries/interconnection/subsidy 1.Work extra, unpaid hours 2.Bring goods from home 3.Take on extra events and responsibilities beyond the job description

9 2. Altruism/ Solidarity Care as resistance to larger uncaring society and highly regulated workplace Care mobilized not just to “help” but to empower self and others = solidarity

10 Conclusions Ways to foster spaces in which it is good to be good in care work warrants further investigation Our data is replete with examples of staff behaving in virtuous ways despite the tight quantification and regulation of practice However, this is not inevitable and may survive because staff are resisting “uncaring” rather than because they are following regulations.


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