'Good care’?: Nannies and Au Pairs Negotiating Different Views on Care
Lund University, Sweden
Working as a nanny or an au pair taking care of children is often seen as an easy job suitable for young women. While this for a long time has not been a common solution to care for children in Sweden it is today a growing market, making possible for parents to employ low paid often migrant women (see e.g. Eldén & Anving, 2016; Kvist, 2012; Widding Isaksen, 2010). Taking my point of departure in a research project in which the practice of care and has been studied from the perspective of all participating actors (nannies, au pairs, parents and children) I will in this paper analyse the nannies’ and au pairs’ narratives on what it means to be in a care situation with children: How do they relate to and form bonds with children while at the same time try to do care in a way that corresponds with both their own views on ‘good care’ as well as the parents’? There is, I argue, a tension between the parents’ expectations of the care practice and the nanny’s/au pair’s understanding of what makes a care situation ‘good’ (comp. Macdonald 2010). But there is also a tension between the parents’ views on what the caring relationship should be like and the actual practice of care that the nanny/au pair and the child are engaged in and the specific relationship that develops through this. To negotiate and handle these different and often contradictory views on care, that are also related to different structural positionings (see e.g. Anderson, 2000), is a difficult and delicate task that here will be explored further.
Egalitarian Ideologies on the Move: Changing Care Practices and Gender Norms in Norway.
University of Bergen, Norway, Denmark
This paper explores the complexities and ambiguities in Norwegian families’ interaction with the public childcare system. Public childcare is a cornerstone in established social policies that equalize children’s upbringing and support gender equality. The dual earner/dual carer family model interacts with fulltime participation in the labor market, gender equality at home and universal access to childcare. This social practice has made contemporary childhood mobile and multi-local.
As part of their everyday organization of care, parents have to establish connections between home, work and childcare. Here we will introduce a newly coined concept; the concept of ‘care loops’,- to analyze how local families ‘do’ combinations of welfare services, family resources, gender ideologies and migrant care workers.
Drawing on empirical research on Filipino migrant care workers in Norwegian families and discussing recent studies of majority families’ care practices, the paper discusses the paradox that egalitarian norms and ideals might generate extra works loads in families with small children leading to demands for migrant care workers and creating geo-political inequality.
Transnational Care Obligations and the Political Economy of Care Work
1Hungarian Demographic Research Institute, Hungary; 2University of Pécs, Hungary
Hungary has historically and structurally strong ties with Austria, its Western neighboring country. In the last few decades, Hungary started to emit a significant number of live-in care workers to the Austrian elderly care sector, constituting the third biggest foreign group among live-in caregivers in the receiving country. Due to population aging, the demand on migrant care workers is gradually increasing in Austria.
The paper examines the supply side of the phenomenon focusing on the unequal gender roles, transnational care obligations, and the assumed cost-benefit calculation of Hungarian live-in care workers employed in Austria. The interviews indicate that the decision about migration is often made on familial basis that confirms the validity of the theory of New Economics of Labor Migration, and the Household Economics model.
The research method is based on sociological fieldwork, and a combined interview technique of narrative and half-structured interview method. The fieldwork was conducted in Baranya County, Hungary, and in Styria, Austria. The analysis contains 34 interviews.
Hungarian care workers apply different strategies in order to provide care for their elderly parents, or children residing in the home country. However, the interviews demonstrate that the respondents do not count the emotional burden and physical distance from their beloved ones into the costs of their migration. They rather suppress their personal interests in favor of their family.
The paper studies the gendered family economy aspects due to labor migration and shows the elements of coercion, and deep-rooted structural constraints in care migration.
Understanding Migrants' Negotiations Of Masculinity Through Intersectional Lens
1University of Gothenburg, Sweden; 2German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM)
Migration triggers significant changes in gender norms. Migrants might be faced with unfamiliar value systems and feel impelled to renegotiate their own gender identity. Often, migrants are under social pressure to ‘modernize’ what culturally hegemonic (white) majorities consider migrants’ ‘backward’ stances to gender equality and/or variety of sexual identities expressions. Many scholarly works follow this path and focus on supposed cultural distance between majorities and migrants and ask if and how this gap might be closed. New evidence suggests that male migrants might be less flexible than female migrants in terms of accepting and adopting more diverse ways of performing gender roles and sexual identities.
We want to extend these narrow views on migrant masculinity and take the lens of intersectionality to understand how male migrants negotiate their own gender identity and performances when confronted with diversity of lifestyles and expressions related to ethnic, religious, gender and sexual identities of population in cities where they now reside. We draw on our ongoing research with intra-European and non-European migrants in Germany in order to address how their ethnic/racial and social backgrounds intersect with their gender identities and norms of masculinity. For example, we look at how catholic Polish men in Berlin negotiate their masculinity vis-à-vis a cosmopolitan gay community and/or Turkish and Arab men, or how young refugees from Muslim countries experience German lesbian secular lifestyles and/or feminist Turkish activists. Intersectional approach paired with focus on ‘negotiated (gender/sexuality) order’ (Anselm Strauss) helps us to reveal dynamics of masculine identities in migration.