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A Caring Europe? Care, Migration and Gender

November 2009

The workshop is funded by the European Science Foundation Exploratory Workshop programme. It brings together researchers from Europe whose work addresses issues of care, migration and gender from varying disciplinary and thematic perspectives, in particular including early career researchers. While being an opportunity for exchange and further development of researchers’ ideas, we aim at laying the ground for further collaboration and a publication will result from the workshop.

The issue of how care is to be arranged within European states’ welfare policies in the context of Europe’s ageing population, and hence, greater care needs, has generated considerable interest (Sevenhuijsen 2004; Ungerson and Yeandle 2007; Lyon and Glucksmann 2008). This workshop explores cross disciplinary perspectives on care, migration and gender within a European context. We aim to take stock of the current state of knowledge and to advance the emergence of an interdisciplinary approach in this dynamic area by bringing together established and junior researchers working on different aspects of care. A European perspective will synergise theoretical and empirical knowledge on care, as it is differentially constituted and conceptualized in different national contexts of welfare policies, migration experiences, and class, ‘racialised’ and gender relations. The workshop will thus identify key agendas for further research that will advance the field conceptually, theoretically, empirically and thematically.

In particular, the workshop will innovate the research field by:

  • Enhancing interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation: putting into dialogue, for example, feminist philosophers’ work on care ethics with social policy researchers’ discussions of care arrangements;
  • Simultaneously addressing the experience of more skilled workers (e.g. doctors, social workers and nurses) with those whose work is labelled as unskilled (e.g. care workers, domestic workers and those providing care within the family);
  • Exploring the experiences of family migrants alongside those of labour migrants;
  • Bridging the gender divide in current research on care: The role of men and women in care provision has been treated separately; few studies explore women’s employment within masculinised carework sectors such as hospital medicine and vice versa, e.g. men in domestic work
  • Bringing together research on the experiences of migrant carers as they emerge alongside working for and living with non-migrants;
  • Conceptualising migrants as complex subjects of care relationships: migrants are both care givers and care receivers; they are actively engaged in constructing an ethics of care in both paid and unpaid work and this should be seen in the context of their citizenship rights locally, nationally and transnationally.
  • Addressing Europe as a migratory and regulatory space shaping the provision of care.

Principal Investigator: Dr Umut Erel

Co-Investigators: Dr Parvati Raghuram and Dr Nicola Yeates

Learn more about the research programme: Intimate Relationships