Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
SP11: Care Labour and Affective Labour in the Global Care Chain
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
9:00am - 10:30am

Session Chair: Maria Carmela Agodi, University of Naples Federico II
Session Chair: Michael Meuser, TU Dortmund
Location: PC.1.7
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 1.
Semi-Plenary 11 with Konstantina Davaki and Lise Widding Isaksen.

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Changing Welfare Regimes and Migrant Care Work

Lise Widding Isaksen

University of Bergen, Norway

In this presentation, I will examine how new trends in welfare policies now intersect with gender, employment and migration policies. The local gender egalitarian dual earner/dual carer family model is supported by the welfare state’s recruitment of care workers with migrant background and refugees. How migrant care workers’ production of care services in Norway might influence gender dynamics in paid and unpaid care work in receiver and sender countries, is an important question for future research.

As the global care chain concept was pioneered in the USA, a context with an absence of collective and public provision of care, the conceptual framework has to be extended when shifting focus to Europe and Scandinavia to include migrants taking jobs in public care services and welfare institutions.

The reconciliation of work and family care is today one of the most pressing problems in most European societies.

As the care work regimes in Nordic contexts are being characterized by the drives for efficiency, productivity and flexibility, work force policies are geared to finding a flexible and available workforce. One result is that present care work regimes increasingly rely on migrant workers; the majority of them are women often arrived in Norway as labour migrants or as refugees. In classic studies of global care chains, the domestic live-in worker is the central individual, while in Nordic context the public employed care worker is becoming the dominant figure.


Professor Lise Widding Isaksen works in the Department of Sociology at the University of Bergen, Norway. Among her research interests are gender issues, globalization, migration, transnational families, care work and welfare/social politics. She has written extensively on gender, migration and power in welfare states, with special emphasis on the social organization of care paid and unpaid care work. Selected recent publications: 1) Lise Widding Isaksen (ed): Global Care Work. Gender and Migration in Nordic Societies. Nordic Academic Press, Lund, Sweden, 2) Lise Widding Isaksen (2012) “Transnational Spaces of Care: Migrant Nurses in Norway.” In Social Politics, International Studies in Gender, State and Society, vol. 19, number 1, spring 2012, p.58-78, Oxford University Press, Oxford 3) ‘Strangers in Paradise? Italian Mothers in Norway’ (2016) in Majella Kilkey and Ewa Palenga-Møllenbeck (eds) Family Life in an Age of Migration and Mobility. Global perspectives through the Life Course. Palgrave Macmillan

On the Global and Local Intersections of Care and Technology-Assisted Reproduction: Internet-Mediated Surrogacy in Greece and Cyprus



This presentation examines issues of surrogacy in the context of two EU countries (Greece and Cyprus) which share significant characteristics. Both are or have been subject to EU-imposed austerity programmes; both are entry points to Europe; finally, they are the only EU member states which allow altruistic surrogacy.

The presentation analyses the impact of recession and austerity policies on the supply of surrogate mothers in the two countries for commercial purposes.

The presentation will focus on the narratives of prospective surrogates and intended parents involving the notions of solidarity, altruism, sisterhood, as well as the role of the mainstream and social media in informing the public debate on the issue.

To examine the above, the presentation will use desktop research methods to identify websites providing surrogate services. The content of such websites is expected to give a sense of the extent of online-arranged surrogacy in the two countries. We will also analyse interviews given to the media by gynaecologists and intended parents, available on the web and identify the ways in which the phenomenon is communicated to the media. In addition, through scrutinising the relevant blogs and social media we will attempt to analyse the contributions and comments of the surrogates themselves using critical discourse analysis, so as to identify the perspectives of surrogates and the ways in which their experience is presented online.


Dr Konstantina Davaki is Research Fellow in Social Policy at the London School of Economics. Her main research interests are gender, comparative social policy, bioethics, care, work/life balance, violence against women, mental health and welfare ideologies in a globalised world. Since 2010 she has been advising the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) of the European Parliament. Her academic publications include articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and reports: Davaki,K. (2017) ‘Surrogacy arrangements in austerity Greece: policy considerations in a permissive regime’ in Davies,M. (ed) Babies for Sale?:Transnational Surrogacy and the Politics of Reproduction, Zed Books; Davaki, K. (2016) Demography and Family Policies from a Gender Perspective, DG IPOL. European Parliament; Davaki,K. (2016) Differences in Men’s and Women’s Work, Care and Leisure Time, DG IPOL, European Parliament; Brunet,L. Davaki,K et al. (2013) A Comparative Study in the Regime of Surrogacy in EU Member States, DG IPOL, European Parliament.

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