The shifting boundaries of politics in Norwegian healthcare
This chapter explores how the relationship between labour relations, healthcare policy, and institutional arrangements shape care work through a combined focus on situated work experiences in the feminised and increasingly multi-cultural municipal healthcare sector and on policy discourse and policy framing in Norway. The chapter identifies and describes labour relations, labour experiences, and the part-time employment ‘culture’ in the care services, and the ways healthcare services and care work are envisioned in recent policy. Development in the labour market over the last decade, spurred by amongst other thing migration and the welfare state ‘crisis’, has changed the institutional conditions of labour. Based on examination of political discourse and on data from fieldwork in three Norwegian municipalities, the chapter aims at a multi-level analysis of labour relations in the municipal care sector in order to show the ways a ‘shifting institutional ecology’ opens for precarity of labour in Norway. The key argument of the chapter is that the shifting boundaries of politics have created problems where labour falls outside of the policy frame, something that contributes to a debasing of (care) work as a political category and to the emergence of precarious labour, often naturalised as flexibility, in the public care services.
Looking at marriage migration regimes in Austria and Germany through the perspective of women from rural Kosovo
This chapter looks at the functioning and effects of border regimes in relation to marriage migration from rural Kosovo to Western Europe, and here especially to Germany and Austria, which restricted the opportunities for marriage migration considerably over recent years. The restrictions are based on gendered and ethnicised assumptions of marriage migration as being patriarchal and a threat to German and Austrian society. Shedding light on a rather unexplored perspective, the chapter focuses on young women in Kosovo’s south, who aim to move to Western Europe via marriage, and the barriers they meet and struggle to overcome. It explores how prospective migrants position themselves towards marriage migration, and how they experience the increasingly restrictive European border regime in terms of family and marriage migration. It furthermore questions the meaning of polity borders in such intimate realms as marriage. The chapter argues that with the new policies and measures concerning marriage migration, Western European states externalise their borders and put enormous pressure on prospective marriage migrants. These borders, partly gendered, can be bodily felt, often postpone migration, and may alienate partners. Contrary to the stated aims of such policies, these measures do not necessarily support women in their free choices in intimate realms, but interfere in intimacies and restrict their agency. Still, women also act as agents by relying on family support in order to realise their imaginations, or by choosing exit strategies when the pressure on them becomes too burdensome or realities are too far away from their imaginations.
Live-in Romanian badanti caring for the elderly in southeast Italy
The chapter explores the multiple worlds in which migrants live while working as badanti, live-in home careworkers for the elderly in an average-sized town in southeast Italy. The chapter focuses on descriptions of day-to-day activities of migrant careworkers but also on spectacular events such as the organisation of ‘The Party of the Counter Hour,’ an event set up by the protagonist of this chapter, a Romanian careworker, with support from a local Italian cultural association and the author. The central argument of the chapter is that the juxtaposition of different regimes of life and work makes explicit the clash within the experience of migrant careworkers’ worlds. In Italy, migrants inhabit the houses of their employers, but paradoxically, live in separate worlds from these. At the same time, while in Italy, migrant careworkers constantly think of and invest in a particular household and extended kin group in Romania. These long term economic, financial, and moral ties make even more visible the multiple worlds in which migrants live while working as badanti in Italy.
The role of pronatalism in the development of Czech childcare and reproductive health policies
Hana Hašková and Radka Dudová
The chapter analyses policy debates to explore the ways in which pronatalism has influenced the formation of reproductive and childcare policies in the Czech Republic. It shows that the pronatalist framing has been activated in the construction of reproductive and childcare policies to enhance the demographic and economic sustainability of the state by means of its internal reproduction and control, since the formation of Czechoslovakia. The analysis shows that how the situation at a given time is defined has been more important for determining policies than the actual birth rate trend. The chapter argues that the pronatalist framing was often used to increase the salience of a problem and the need to accept the policy solution defined within other frames. However, pronatalist framing also brought new meanings to the definition of the problem. While it has sometimes been instrumental in promoting certain measures advocated by feminists, it has always built on the gendered obligation to reproduce, has intruded on the bodily and sexual citizenship of some women, LGBTQ+ people, and persons of marginalised ethnicities and nationalities, and has buttressed the current limitations of the reproductive rights.
Diversity and ambivalence of transnational care trajectories within postsocialist migration experience
Petra Ezzeddine and Hana Havelková
The chapter analyses how specific transnational care practices are reflected in the personal life trajectories of women from Ukraine and former Yugoslavia with migration and refugee experience in the postsocialist context of contemporary Czech Republic. The focus of the chapter is on the influence of gendered norms and expectations on women’s transnational care practices and their feelings of care obligation, and it explores the women’s specific coping strategies for dealing with practical and emotional challenges arising at the juncture of contradictory expectations. These are: a) guilt over ’leaving behind’, b) a strategy of temporariness, and c) struggles to achieve a work–care combination within broader family structures in the transnational environment. The research findings show how geographical borders shape the life trajectories of transnational mothers and daughters, enabling the women to live parallel lives in a transnational space, where they move back and forth between their reproductive and productive roles. The borders of nation states determine their legal status as ‘third-country nationals’ who have limited opportunities for family reunification with their children or parents and thus have to search for alternative ways and strategies to fulfil socially expected gender roles.
This book is a collection of chapters by anthropologists and other social scientists concerned with gendered labour, care, intimacy, and sexuality, in relation to mobility and the hardening of borders in Europe. After a brief introduction outlining the themes and individual contributions, the book begins with a chapter focusing on the parallels between regulation of geo-political and material borders separating nation states and other areas, and ideological and classificatory boundaries categorising kinds of people and bodies. This framing chapter is followed by three sections. The first comprises ethnographic and phenomenological case studies of gendered migration experience, in the context of intimate relations of care and marriage. The second section continues with an continuous with an ethnographic emphasis, but focuses more on studies of regulation, agency, and activism in contexts of migration, labour, and/or (biological) reproduction and how migrants navigate social services in their destination countries. The final section shifts emphasis more in the direction of conceptual discussion and contains analyses of state and church regulation of bodies, sexualities, reproduction and knowledge practices, and of different regimes of care. Overall, a major aim of the book is to illuminate processes of inclusion and exclusion generated by and around borders and boundaries, and the processes by which they are reproduced and/or contested.
This chapter introduces the readers to the main topics and arguments of the book, and explains its main goal, which is to explore borders and boundaries, both external, geo-political and internal, socio-political, in order to unpack processes of social reproduction and of exclusion and inclusion in Europe. The chapter presents briefly the ethnographic contributions of the book, and the three main sections framing the individual chapters: Part I comprises ethnographic and phenomenological discussions of people’s changing lives as they cross borders; Part II centres around migrants’ navigation of social services in their destination countries, putting at the core questions about rights and limitations on citizenship; and Part III focuses on policy formation at the level of the state in relation to sexuality, reproduction, and care regimes
Since the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis, grassroots activism around care has significantly increased in Spain, and particularly in Catalonia. Especially significant has been activism by immigrant domestic workers, but other groups, such as informal family carers and professionals from the public health and welfare system, have also made themselves heard. Under renewed forms of political activism, they all have addressed the so-called crisis of care, which for decades has been affecting Spain’s capacity to meet the care and social reproductive needs of broad sectors of the population. In 2017, the Care Network was created in Barcelona, an attempt to bring together claims from different social groups affected by cutbacks and austerity policies. This chapter analyses these new forms of grassroots activism around care. Based on recent literature on citizenship and border regulation, it shows how social activists challenge the boundary drawing at play in the stratified system of entitlement. Adopting a critical feminist perspective, it describes how activists respond, through their demands and alliances, to the logic of value extraction underlying the current care regime in Spain, which is feminised, precarious, and stratified. Ultimately, it highlights the central role that solidarity plays in the politicisation and democratisation of care.
Building on various theoretical perspectives on borders and bodies this chapter contributes to the critique of racialised, hardening boundaries and processes of exclusion that occur in the context of obligations and entitlements to health and wellbeing in Europe. It presents findings from a collaborative ethnographic account from a multi-diverse neighbourhood in Bochum and its inhabitants’ access to health from the critical vantage point of that community. The research for this article was conducted by members of the City Lab Bochum and the results emerge from three years of intermittent ethnographic research the author conducted in the neighbourhood between 2015 and 2019. It shows, with Fassin, how borders as external territorial frontiers interrelate with multiple boundaries as internal social categorisations and affect migrants in the study area. An ethnographic account of a newly migrated family indicates the necessity for wider structural changes that decisively reduce or even put to an end peoples’ informal exclusion from healthcare. Moreover, this research depicts how health-related interventions for people living in precarious contexts should not be limited to the healthcare system but rather address a wider institutional landscape. Based on the findings the chapter comes up with concrete strategies to counter peoples’ uncertain futures by creating space for radical diversity.
In Norway, the majority population has generally accepted and internalised gender egalitarian values. Public childcare is universal and plays an important role in work–family balance. Among the majority population, the male breadwinner model is being replaced by a double earner/double carer model. As a result, gender traditional family models have been contested and are often associated with migrant families. Local care and welfare policies aim to integrate women and migrants into the labour market and children into local communities. For migrant mothers who come from European contexts dominated by the Catholic church and gender conservative family values, developing new care practices in Norway can cause social tensions, transnational challenges, as well as individual empowerment. This chapter discusses how local gender policies and access to universal childcare arrangements in Norway influence Polish and Italian mothers’ migration experiences.