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Families and carers: Italian families’ experiences of the transition to the ‘migrant-in-the-family’ model of elderly care

Modanesi, Alessandro (2018) Families and carers: Italian families’ experiences of the transition to the ‘migrant-in-the-family’ model of elderly care. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Employing ethnographic methods, this thesis examines the experiences of Italian family carers and live-in migrant eldercare assistants in order to understand how the meaning of family care, the spaces where care is provided and caring roles change during the transition from a family-based model, when care for the elderly is provided at home by a member of the family, to the ‘migrant-in-the-family’ model, when care for the elderly is provided by migrant care workers, the majority of whom are women, who live and work in the house of their employers. This thesis makes three distinct contributions to the growing literature on migrant domestic and care work. Firstly, it shows that during the transition to the ‘migrant-in-the-family’ model the concept of care at home changes, cohabiting strategies are excluded and the house of the elderly person is constructed as the proper space to provide care, a space which is kept as separate from the spaces where the rest of the family lives. Secondly, it shows that family employers construct the relationship with their eldercare assistants in terms of family-like relationships in order to establish with them a ‘moral contract’ and pass on them the responsibility of being constantly present in the house of their elderly relatives. Finally, this thesis shows that this new understanding of family care legitimises the emergence of a new social institution, the ‘migrant-in-the-family model’, which reproduces the same gender inequalities of the family-based model. Family primary caregivers, who are in the majority of the cases women, continue to be involved in caring for their elderly relatives managing migrant eldercare assistants and controlling that they provide care according to the ‘moral contract’. In addition, the ‘migrant-in-the-family’ model leads to an emotional exploitation of migrant eldercare assistants.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Italian famelies, carers, elderly care, migrant eldercare assistants, 'migrant-in-the-family' model
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.784661
Depositing User: mr a modanesi
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2019 09:34
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24767

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