Negotiating User Preferences, Discrimination, and Demand for Migrant Labour in Long-term Care
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Walsh, K., Shutes, I. (2012) 'Negotiating User Preferences, Discrimination, and Demand for Migrant Labour in Long-term Care'. Social Politics, 19 (1):78-104.
The restructuring of long-term care for older people has been marked both by the role of the market and by the role of migrant labor. This article develops the analysis of these processes at the microlevel of the provision of care. It draws on data collected as part of a cross-national comparative study on the employment of migrant care workers in residential care homes and home care services for older people in England and Ireland. The article examines, first, the ways in which divisions of race, ethnicity, and citizenship shape the preferences of service providers/employers and some service users as regards who provides care. Second, it examines how the institutional context of quasi-markets in long-term care shapes the negotiation of demand for migrant labor, the racialized preferences of individual users, alongside the rights of care workers to non-discrimination. It is argued that market-oriented policies for personalization, as well as for cost containment, raise implications for divisions of race, ethnicity, and citizenship in the provision of long-term care. At the same time, those divisions point to the limits of framing care in terms of the preferences of the individual as opposed to the social relations in which care is embedded.