Care crises and care fixes under Covid-19: the example of transnational live-in care work
The COVID-19 pandemic brought care work to the forefront of attention. In many countries in the Global North, people became painfully aware that they had ‘outsourced’ a considerable share of this work to temporary migrants. Travel restrictions and lockdown measures disrupted transnational care arrangements and threatened the continuous provision of care. This article uses the example of transnationally organised live-in care in Switzerland to explore measures implemented to maintain care provision during the pandemic. Particularly, it investigates the impacts of these measures on the working conditions and lives of live-in care workers. We build on Emma Dowling’s conceptualisation of ‘care fixes’ and Brigitte Aulenbacher’s notions of ‘abstraction’ and ‘appropriation’ to identify three short-term solutions and argue that they did not solve, but rather only displaced the underlying care crisis. Our insights are based on the analysis of policy documents, 32 in-depth interviews and informal conversations with workers, clients, care agencies and other experts carried out in Switzerland between April 2020 and April 2021. We emphasise the inequalities implicated in transnational care arrangements and their inherent fragility, both of which were exacerbated by the pandemic. We tentatively point to avenues for contestation and for a revaluation of care, which opened up as result of the pandemic-induced disruption of care.
Avril Maddrell, Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho and Michele Lobo
Taylor & Francis, Social & Cultural Geography Volume 24, 2023 - Issue 3-4 «Social and Cultural Geographies of COVID-19»
Arbeit – Laufbahn – Beruf
Migration – Asyl
Gesundheit – Medizin