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Care As A Site Of Political Struggle

Hoppania Hanna-Kaisa

Publications of the Department of Political and Economic Studies 25 This dissertation investigates the politics of care. Providing care, particularly for the elderly, is becoming a grave problem in many European countries. Dependency ratios are weakening and resources for the welfare state appear to be limited in the prevailing economic circumstances. The research analyzes how this situation was acknowledged and addressed in Finland through the Act on Care Services for Older People which came into force in 2013. It explores the subtext and roots of the issue, and examines why the law turned out the way it did by analyzing the processes whereby the Act was initiated, drafted and passed. It considers how care and the problems around it were represented in the political process which followed media scandals and reports highlighting the problems in the quality of elder care services. This case study is situated in its wider historical context, and the nature of the subject matter itself care – is investigated to illuminate what is at stake in the reforms of elder care service provision. The study argues that this reform project, and the situation it stemmed from, presented a moment of political openness to debate, and an opportunity to transform the societal commitments regarding elder care. This potential however was lost. When finalized, the Act only led to an affirmation of existing levels of care provision albeit with new regulatory procedures. Despite a rhetorical commitment to welfare state principles across the political spectrum, in the background neoliberal policies were pushed ahead as the solution to the challenges of care. These programmes and schemes, however, rely on the maintenance and reproduction of unequal, gendered care relations. A seemingly apolitical governance of care is becoming the key site in which power over care relations is exercised, effectively undermining democratic control of care policy.

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  • Publisher Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitos (Helsingin yliopisto)
    Release-year 2015
    Page-count 203
    Language English
    Series Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitoksen julkaisuja
    Appearance B5,pehmeäkantinen
    ISBN 9789515110190
    ISSN 2243-3635