Sociology

Open Access (free)
Care for older people in Europe
Pat Thane

The chapter surveys the main themes of the case studies in the volume, stressing how much these otherwise diverse nations have in common in their approach to elder care. In all cases it has never taken priority in policy-making compared with other welfare issues. Discrimination and stereotyping of older people have been pervasive. Everywhere female family members have taken the main responsibility for care, with little public support. The pressure upon them has grown, often stressfully, as care services, public and private, have declined further with the spread of neoliberalism and the still greater impact of the COVID pandemic. This has generally made the inadequacies of care more public but there is little sign that it is leading to improvement anywhere.

in Politicising and gendering care for older people
The rhetoric of a family policy in Portugal
Ana Paula Gil

Like other Mediterranean countries, Portugal is characterised by a strongly familistic care regime, where women continue to play a central role in family care. Recently, Portugal has attempted to implement the Informal Carer Statute, a policy to support family carers. This chapter aims to chronologically reconstruct the evolution of the carers’ policy in Portugal and identify controversies around this social policy. Based on a documental and historical analysis, 15 regulations were identified between 2016 and 2022, focusing on the benefits for informal carers, cash benefits, and state co-payment of services. Eligibility criteria, based exclusively on income, limit the access of thousands of carers who are silenced by the state. The new care regulation has exclusively become a measure to combat situations of poverty. Recognition of the carer's contribution and protection in retirement and ill-health have been minimised, although these constituted one of the main demands that pushed for the emergence of a carers' movement in the public arena. The struggle for recognition through the social movement for informal carers (O movimento dos cuidadores informais) turned into a struggle to change the law, mobilising civil society. The National Association of Informal Carers, as the representative body of its members, emerged from the social movement and, recently, was the promoter of a citizens' legislative initiative. Through the Portuguese case, different examples of strategies of a process of politicisation are portrayed. Care becomes thus an object of political struggle within the social and political field.

in Politicising and gendering care for older people
Open Access (free)
Notions of belonging and the impacts of COVID-19 on festivals in Scotland
John Wright

During the Covid-19 pandemic, cultural festivals in Scotland faced unprecedented challenges with government restrictions on gatherings, travel and venue closures. Many festivals were forced to cancel or postpone their events, with uncertainty over rescheduling, and rethink how they engage with audiences and wider communities. Festivals are complex organisations of people and places that bring together different communities, from freelance cultural workers to local residents. The pandemic brought disruptions to these communities and enforced rapid shifts to remote working and digital-born content production. These changes have had significant socio-cultural and economic impacts on festivals and posed questions about the long-term sustainability of mass cultural gatherings.

In the unprecedented context of these challenges, this chapter traces the impact of Covid-19 on cultural festivals in Scotland. Based primarily on a series of interviews and conversations carried out in 2020 and 2021, with festival producers, directors and organisers, the author presents findings that illuminate the different responses that festivals have implemented during the pandemic, from moving to hybrid models of live and digital content to fundraising for local foodbanks. The chapter combines a broad analysis of cultural festivals in Scotland from different locations, art forms and sizes with three short case studies of specific festivals to develop a comprehensive understanding of the complex challenges faced by festivals at local, regional and national levels. It traces the interrelationship between notions of belonging and place within digital and hybrid festivals to explore its impact on future planning.

in Pandemic culture
An introduction
Anca Dohotariu

This chapter introduces the topic of care for older people as inherently political and gendered and the related politicising and gendering processes in Europe. First, it presents the epistemological and academic motivations underpinning the need to elaborate a multidisciplinary collective volume on a topic that has not been tackled and developed previously. One of the most important reasons informing this choice is that both politicising and gendering care for older people are two transversal processes that share the same reference to some inherent and pervasive features of care, namely care as political and gendered by definition. Second, the chapter introduces a conceptual background indispensable to establishing a clearly defined focus of all contributions to the book. Neither exhaustive nor providing a deductive approach or theoretical framework shared by all chapters, this conceptual background concerning politicising and gendering care for older people in Europe serves as a reference tool guiding different country-based and multi-level analyses. Its primary role is to introduce one clearly outlined exploration interest while opening up diverse research questions and multidisciplinary studies. Third, the introductory chapter presents the book’s structure and the topics, questions, and research directions addressed by each contribution to the volume. These multidisciplinary investigations depend primarily on the specific and relevant aspects concerning politicising and gendering care for older people and how these occur in different European settings and at societal and political levels.

in Politicising and gendering care for older people
A gendered perspective
Ljiljana Pantović
,
Bojana Radovanović
, and
Adriana Zaharijević

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the care of older adults in Serbia. Under the guise of care for ‘grandpas and grandmas’, the government enforced policies, measures, and protocols that severely impacted the already fragile system for the care of older adults in Serbia, at the same time creating a situation in which those older persons who were previously independent turned completely dependent, while those who were truly in need of care were unable to get it. On the other hand, the underpaid, undervalued caregivers – the main subjects of this chapter – bore the greatest brunt of the pandemic-induced politicisation of care for older adults in Serbia. Prior to the pandemic, care of older adults was already a gendered issue, as women were the primary providers of both informal and formal care. The pandemic has exacerbated this gender imbalance. In addition, the pandemic has shed light on the shortage of skilled caregivers and the precarious position of paid care in the informal economy. The shortage of caregivers has made it even more difficult for women to balance their paid and unpaid work, and it has also led to a decline in the quality of care for older adults.

in Politicising and gendering care for older people
Museums and galleries in northern England during the COVID-19 pandemic
Danielle Child
,
Karen Gray
, and
Harry Weeks

During the Covid-19 pandemic, museums and galleries were forced to rapidly rethink how they engaged with their publics. While some focused their energies on reaching wider audiences (often via digital and online provision), many asked what they could do to help the communities that immediately surrounded them. The north of England was hit particularly hard by the pandemic, experiencing extended lockdowns and high-tier restrictions. From interviews with over thirty gallery, museum and arts workers in the north-east and north-west of England, the authors identify an increase in community engagement and outreach from galleries and museums throughout the pandemic.

The chapter examines the community engagement and outreach activities provided by these institutions and asks: How do galleries and museums provide support during unprecedented times? Who do galleries and museums serve? Who benefits from this provision and can it be sustained in the long term? What are the implications for the workforce, missions and business models of galleries and museums? How do these practices inform new narratives of ‘levelling up’ and post-pandemic recovery within areas already highlighted for investment? In responding to these fundamental questions about the civic responsibility of arts institutions in times of crisis, the chapter undertakes a close analysis of three case studies: a large art gallery; a local authority museum; and a small, embedded arts organisation.

in Pandemic culture
Northern Ireland’s response to the COVID-19 crisis
John Wright
and
Ali FitzGibbon

This chapter traces the impact of Covid-19 on arts and cultural activity in Northern Ireland through the lens of emerging and collaborative approaches to leadership. It draws principally from a series of practitioner interviews and discussions carried out in 2020 and 2021, combining the knowledge of a range of organisational leaders with creative freelancers and policy-makers. The authors examine the role and nature of what constitutes leadership within the Northern Irish cultural economy.

Although exacerbated by the crisis, the tensions of how cultural leadership is recognised and defined (who and what is a leader?) predate the pandemic and are intrinsically linked to concerns of representation and consideration in regional, national and subnational policy structures and within the systems of arts and cultural practices. By pointing to where leadership has emerged in new or more strident forms, it equally points to where it has been absent, excluded or ignored. Through analysing these emergent forms of collaborative leadership, the authors suggest ways in which these practices could shape the future direction of cultural policy-making in Northern Ireland.

in Pandemic culture
Open Access (free)
Disruption and continuity in the cultural industries: from pandemic culture to an endemic crisis?
Dave O’Brien
,
Abigail Gilmore
, and
Ben Walmsley

This chapter concludes the analysis presented in the book. It reflects on the continuities in the conditions of cultural and creative production and consumption that characterise the pre- and post-pandemic years in the UK. While the pandemic was hugely disruptive, as the book demonstrates, the case studies, national and regional analysis, sub-sectoral and art-form-specific discussions, and various methodological approaches all foreground the ongoing impact of inequalities in the cultural sector. Rather than being products or consequences of 2020, these trends and structures were exacerbated, rather than created, by the pandemic. This chapter situates that sense of continuity in an international context; between and across sub-sectors of the creative economy; in relation to cultural leadership and the civic role of the arts; and in relation to future audiences for culture. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the implications of the book for cultural policy scholarship.

in Pandemic culture
Response and recovery in the United Kingdom
Abigail Gilmore
,
Sue Hayton
,
Trevor MacFarlane
,
John Wright
,
Ben Dunn
, and
Rachel Johnson

This chapter explores the national policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cultural sector in the UK. Drawing on empirical research and policy analysis within Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England, led to some degree by the central UK Government in Westminster, we develop a narrative account of the unfolding of public health regulations, safety measures, funding and support schemes for stabilisation and recovery of the sector, its institutions, audiences and workforce, between the period of March 2020 and the end of 2021. This account is chronicled by three main phases of lockdown, recovery plans and continued uncertainty, and framed by two key propositions: firstly, that despite their often fractured and reactive nature, the policy responses in the UK provide an insight into the values and significance attached to arts and culture by national governments and assemblies and, secondly, that they indicate the distinctive characteristics of governance networks of the devolved nations and their relationship to Westminster. While there are commonalities between the four nations’ responses, such as the relaxation of grant eligibility criteria, unprecedented public funding, and continuing attachments of cultural recovery to policy objectives such as high street regeneration, there were also distinctions characteristic of the policy assemblages operating within the devolved nations, reflecting their political priorities and normative values.

in Pandemic culture
An ecosystem analysis of Greater Manchester
Ben Dunn
and
Abigail Gilmore

This chapter takes an ecosystems approach to examine the responses to the pandemic of cultural sector organisations, local government, private sector partners and stakeholders in the ‘exceptional case’ of Greater Manchester, the first devolved UK city region. Through analysis of qualitative interviews with city-regional cultural leaders and policy-makers and with a focus on two case studies, the Greater Manchester Arts Hub and the cultural strategy for Salford, Suprema Lex, we consider how local actors and initiatives were able to leverage place-based knowledge, networks and resources to find solutions to the impacts of Covid-19 which nuanced the national policy response. The chapter finds that a combination of existing networks and values-led frameworks, cultural sector leadership and strong local political buy-in helped to galvanise epistemic communities to test and create new practice. This also helped mitigate the established ‘pecking order’ of arts and cultural organisations locally, laying the ground for more inclusive place-based cultural policy post-pandemic.

in Pandemic culture