Project

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Care markets: The role of care agencies in the commodification of elderly care

Applicant Berndt Christian
Number 146551
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Abteilung für Wirtschaftsgeographie Geographisches Institut Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.09.2013 - 28.02.2017
Approved amount 496'148.00
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Keywords (11)

neoliberalization; labor; market; Switzerland; care; Pflege; Markt; Migration; Schweiz; Arbeit; Neoliberalisierung

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
BetreuungsmärkteDie Rolle von Betreuungsagenturen in der Kommodifizierung der Betreuung älterer Menschen
Lay summary

In der Schweiz ist in den letzten fünf Jahren ein neuer Markt entstanden, in welchem privatwirtschaftliche Unternehmen Betreuungsdienstleistungen für Betagte anbieten. Diese oft transnational agierenden Vermittlungsagenturen rekrutieren ihre Arbeitnehmerinnen in den neuen deutschen Bundesländern, Ungarn, Polen und in weiteren osteuropäischen Ländern, um sie dann als live-in Betreuerinnen in Schweizer Privathaushalten einzusetzen. Die Agenturen spielen eine Schlüsselrolle in der zunehmenden Vermarktlichung von Betreuungsarbeit, in der Ausgestaltung der Arbeitsverhältnisse von migrantischen Betreuerinnen und in der Definition von Betreuung als kommodifiziertes Gut an sich.

In unserer Studie analysieren wir die Strategien und Praktiken dieser Betreungsagenturen auf dem Schweizer Home Care Markt. Wir erforschen, welche Konsequenzen die gegenwärtige Neukonfiguration der Betreuung älterer Menschen für die öffentliche Hand, für Familien, für die bezahlten Betreuerinnen und für die betreuten älteren Menschen selber hat. Hierfür vergleichen wir den geographischen Kontext der Schweiz mit Deutschland, Österreich, Kanada und England, wo kommerzielle Betreuungsagenturen bereits seit längerer Zeit bestehen.

Unsere Studie will mit vertieftem Wissen zur gegenwärtigen Debatte unter staatlichen, gewerkschaftlichen und kommerziellen Akteuren über Möglichkeiten und Notwendigkeit der Regulierung des neu entstehenden Home Care Marktes und der darin verbreiteten Arbeitsverhältnisse beitragen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 10.04.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Die Konstruktion der 24-Stunden-Betreuung für ältere Menschen in den Schweizer Medien.
Schwiter Karin, Pelzelmayer Katharina, Thurnherr Isabelle (2018), Die Konstruktion der 24-Stunden-Betreuung für ältere Menschen in den Schweizer Medien., in Swiss Journal of Sociology, 44(1), 157-181.
Brokering Labour Migration. The Role of Home Care Agencies in the Migration of live-in Care Workers
Chau Huey Shy (2018), Brokering Labour Migration. The Role of Home Care Agencies in the Migration of live-in Care Workers, University of Zurich, Zurich.
Care, Pay, Love: Commodification and the Spaces of Live-In Care
Pelzelmayer Katharina (2017), Care, Pay, Love: Commodification and the Spaces of Live-In Care, in Social & Cultural Geography, 1.
Labor market segmentation
Berndt Christian (2017), Labor market segmentation, in Richardson Douglas (ed.), Wiley, London, online.
Allzeit bereit: 24-Stunden pro Tag, sieben Tage die Woche betreut
Pelzelmayer Katharina (2017), Allzeit bereit: 24-Stunden pro Tag, sieben Tage die Woche betreut, IZ3W, Freiburg im Breisgau.
Bodies That Work, Discourses That Care. Powerful Narratives of Elder Care on the Move
Pelzelmayer Katharina (2017), Bodies That Work, Discourses That Care. Powerful Narratives of Elder Care on the Move.
Exploring care agencies as key drivers of the circular migration of live-in care workers
Berndt Christian, Chau Huey Shy, Pelzelmayer Katharina, Schwiter Karin (2017), Exploring care agencies as key drivers of the circular migration of live-in care workers, in Feministisches GeoRundmail, 73, 4-7.
Short-term circular migration and gendered negotiation of the right to the city: The case of migrant live-in care workers in Basel, Switzerland’
Chau Huey Shy, Pelzelmayer Katharina, Schwiter Karin (2017), Short-term circular migration and gendered negotiation of the right to the city: The case of migrant live-in care workers in Basel, Switzerland’, in Cities, Online.
Places of difference: narratives of heart-felt warmth, ethnicisation, and female care-migrants in Swiss live-in care
Pelzelmayer Katharina (2016), Places of difference: narratives of heart-felt warmth, ethnicisation, and female care-migrants in Swiss live-in care, in Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal in Feminist Geography, 1.
Places of difference: narratives of heart-felt warmth, ethnicisation, and female care-migrants in Swiss live-in care’; discussion of forthcoming paper
Pelzelmayer Katharina (2016), Places of difference: narratives of heart-felt warmth, ethnicisation, and female care-migrants in Swiss live-in care’; discussion of forthcoming paper, in Feministisches Geo-Rundmail, 69, 19-20.
Performativity, Politics and the Production of Social Space by Michael R. Glass and Reuben Rose-Redwood - Book Review
Schwiter Karin (2016), Performativity, Politics and the Production of Social Space by Michael R. Glass and Reuben Rose-Redwood - Book Review, in Progress in Human Geography, Online first, 1.
Neoliberal austerity and the marketization of elderly care
Schwiter Karin, Berndt Christian, Truong Jasmine (2015), Neoliberal austerity and the marketization of elderly care, in Social and Cultural Geography., 1.
Ein sorgender Markt. Wie transnationale Vermittlungsagenturen für Seniorenbetreuung (Im)Mobilität, Ethnizität und Geschlecht in Wert setzen
Schwiter Karin, Berndt Christian, Schilling Linda (2014), Ein sorgender Markt. Wie transnationale Vermittlungsagenturen für Seniorenbetreuung (Im)Mobilität, Ethnizität und Geschlecht in Wert setzen, in Geographische Zeitschrift, 102(4), 212-231.
Geographies of Care
Schwiter Karin (ed.) (2013), Geographies of Care, Selbstverlag (Feministisches Geo-Rundmail), Zürich.
Caring, working, moving bodies: Subjektivierung und Körper in der Schweizer 24-Stunden-Betreuung
Pelzelmayer Katharina, Caring, working, moving bodies: Subjektivierung und Körper in der Schweizer 24-Stunden-Betreuung, in Aceti Monica, Tissot Laurent, Jaccoud Christophe (ed.), Editions Alphil, Neuchâtel, 145-167.
Dissertation Précis: Bodies That Work, Discourses That Care. Powerful Narratives of Elder Care on the Move
Pelzelmayer Katharina, Dissertation Précis: Bodies That Work, Discourses That Care. Powerful Narratives of Elder Care on the Move, in Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, keine.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Dr. Kendra Strauss, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Dr. Anke Strüver, University of Hamburg Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Dr. Helma Lutz and Dr. Ewa Palenga, Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Dr. Geraldine Pratt, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Dr. Shirlena Huang Singapore (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Prof. Dr. Brigitte Aulenbacher, Universität Linz, Österreich Austria (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
PD Dr. Yvonne Riano, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Dr. Kim England, University of Washington, Seattle United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Dr. Brenda Yeoh, National University of Singapore, Singapur Singapore (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Board meeting of Care-Info Individual talk On the use of the term “Care-Migrantin” in the Swiss public discourse 01.03.2017 Zurich town hall, Switzerland Pelzelmayer Katharina;
3rd International Symposium on Transnational Aging. Long-term care for the elderly across borders Talk given at a conference A commercial market for elderly care in Switzerland. The role of placement agencies in 24/7 care arrangements 06.10.2016 Mainz, Germany Chau Huey Shy;
The 18th Nordic Migration Conference Talk given at a conference 'Home care agencies in control of labour migration? Transplacing live-in carers from household to household 11.08.2016 Oslo, Norway Chau Huey Shy;
Bios - Technologien - Gesundheit, Institut für Humangeographie, Uni Frankfurt Talk given at a conference Der neue Markt der 24h-Betreuung als "Ethnography of Circulations" 25.06.2016 Frankfurt am Main, Germany Schwiter Karin;
Social and Cultural Geography colloquium Individual talk Work and 24-hour care in Switzerland 30.03.2016 National University of Singapore, Singapore Pelzelmayer Katharina;
Gender Studies Colloquium, University of Zurich Individual talk Die kommerzielle 24h-Betreuung als vergeschlechtlichter neuer Markt: Vorstellungen von Geschlecht, Mobilität und Arbeit. 04.11.2015 Zürich, Switzerland Schwiter Karin; Pelzelmayer Katharina; Chau Huey Shy;
Deutscher Kongress für Geographie Talk given at a conference Logiken der (Im)mobilisierung von zirkular migrierenden Arbeitskraften 03.10.2015 Berlin, Germany Schwiter Karin; Pelzelmayer Katharina;
Global Conference of Economic Geography Talk given at a conference Labour market intermediaries in the care sector 20.08.2015 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Schwiter Karin;
12th Annual Imiscoe Conference Talk given at a conference Governing transnational care work: live-in care arrangements in a grey area 25.07.2015 Genf, Switzerland Chau Huey Shy;
Human Geography Lecture Series Individual talk (Im)mobilisierung von Pendelmigrantinnen in der live-in Altenbetreuung 27.05.2015 Frankfurt am Main, Germany Schwiter Karin;
Annual Conference of the American Association of Geographers Talk given at a conference The geopolitics of labour regimes in live-in elder care: comparing Canada, Switzerland and Austria 24.04.2015 Chicago, United States of America Schwiter Karin;
Annual Conference of the American Association of Geographers Talk given at a conference Moving & caring bodies: 24-hour elder care in Switzerland 24.04.2015 Chicago, United States of America Pelzelmayer Katharina;
Annual Conference of the American Association of Geographers Talk given at a conference A flexible and replaceable workforce in the live-in care market? 24.04.2015 Chicago, United States of America Chau Huey Shy;
Preconference of the Gender and Geography Commission of the Association of American Geographers Talk given at a conference Short term circular migration and the negotiation of rights to the city 19.04.2015 Milwaukee, United States of America Schwiter Karin; Chau Huey Shy; Pelzelmayer Katharina;
Mitarbeitenden Versammlung des Geographischen Instituts der Universität Zürich Individual talk The marketization of Care 01.04.2015 Zürich, Switzerland Schwiter Karin;
Feminist Theory and Gender Studies conference Talk given at a conference The Swiss market in 24-hour care and the concept of commodification 30.01.2015 University of Linz, Austria Pelzelmayer Katharina;
Neue Kulturgeographie Konferenz Talk given at a conference Arbeitsplatz Wohnzimmer. Zur performativen Herstellung eines Marktes im Privathaushalt 30.01.2015 Bamberg, Germany Chau Huey Shy; Schwiter Karin; Pelzelmayer Katharina;
Economic Geography Research Colloquium at the University of British Columbia Individual talk Neoliberal austerity and the marketization of elderly care 04.06.2014 Vancouver, Canada Schwiter Karin;
Work in Progress Gender Studies am Interdisziplinären Zentrum für Geschlechterforschung IZFG der Universität Bern Talk given at a conference Geschlechternormen, Arbeitsverständnisse und der neue 24h Altenpflege-Markt in der Schweiz 16.05.2014 University of Bern, Switzerland Pelzelmayer Katharina;
Interdisziplinäre Vortragsreihe "Alter(n) ohne Grenzen?" des Zentrums für Gerontologie der Universität Zürich Individual talk Vermittlung und Verleih von 24h-Betreuerinnen für Pflegebedürftige: Entstehung und Charakteristiken eines transnationalen Marktes 11.12.2013 Zürich, Switzerland Schwiter Karin;
Deutscher Kongress für Geographie Talk given at a conference Vermittlungspraktiken im Graubereich: Care-Migration in der Live-in Betreuung 03.10.2013 Berlin, Germany Chau Huey Shy;
Annual Conference of the Royal Geographic Society Talk given at a conference The emergence of a new market of commercialised care: Private suppliers of home care for the elderly in Switzerland 01.09.2013 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Schwiter Karin; Berndt Christian;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Care Chains – Abhangigkeit von Pflegerinnen aus Tieflohnlandern als billige Dienstleisterinnen Talk 04.02.2017 Luzern, Switzerland Pelzelmayer Katharina;
Care konkret Talk 04.02.2017 Luzern, Switzerland Schwiter Karin;
Seniorenuniversität Wintherthur: Der neue Markt in der 24h-Betreuung fur SeniorInnen Talk 11.11.2015 Wintherthur, Switzerland Schwiter Karin;
Seniorenuniversität Zürich: Zur Performativitat des neuen Marktes in der 24h-Betreuung Talk 20.10.2015 Zürich, Switzerland Schwiter Karin;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Conference report: The national conference on paid work in Swiss households International 2017
Talks/events/exhibitions Open doors Event of the Department of Geography: Präsentation des Hörstücks "Altenbetreuung ..." German-speaking Switzerland 2016
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Rekrutierungs- und Vermarktungsstrategien von Betreuungs-Agenturen CareInfo German-speaking Switzerland 2016
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Altenbetreuung zwischen Love und Labour Hörstück produziert durch den Graduate Campus in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Schauspielhaus Zürich German-speaking Switzerland International 2015
Video/Film Filmed interview about care markets research and the university German-speaking Switzerland International 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Open Doors Event of the Department of Geography: "Who cares? Der neue Markt der Altenbetreuung" German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Media relations: radio, television Radio interview on care revolution and care markets research project LoRa Zurich radio station German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Referat am Tag d. offenen Tür des Geographischen Instituts: Who cares? Der neue Altenbetreuungsmarkt German-speaking Switzerland 2014

Abstract

The provision of care for the elderly has moved to the forefront of policy agendas and public discussions in the Global North. In Switzerland, one million people out of a total population of eight million will be above the age 80 by the year 2060. Demographic aging and changing gender relations have led to a shortage of care labor, which is expected to become more acute in the coming years. Concurrently, neoliberal restructurings of the public provision of care have contributed to an increasing commercialization of care services. To a growing extent, private households buy care services in a privatized care market. Today, an estimated 30’000 care workers look after elderly people in Swiss households. Most of them are migrant women from Eastern European countries such as Poland and Hungary. The immigration of these care workers is fostered by the free movement of workers agreement, which allows EU citizens to take residence and work in Switzerland.The commercialization of home care has been accompanied by the emergence of private care agencies as key drivers of marketization. As intermediaries, these agencies hire care workers and sell packaged care services to the elderly and their families. They play a key role in shaping commercialized care markets, the working conditions of home care workers, and the definition of care itself as a marketable good.This study analyzes the strategies and practices of these care agencies in order to understand the consequences of the current reconfiguration of elderly care for states, households, families, care workers and care recipients. Furthermore, this project compares the Swiss home care market to the commercialized care markets in Germany, Austria, Canada and the UK, where agencies have operated for a longer period of time. By taking the role of these intermediaries in the care market seriously, the project will shed light on an emergent phenomenon in the Swiss care market which has so far received insufficient attention from researchers.Methodologically, the study works with a “geographies of marketization” perspective. The “marketization” framework focuses on the necessary construction work that makes actually existing markets possible and stabilizes them as social entities. Based on document analyses and interviews with agencies and other key agents in the care markets, the project will shed light on the specific constellations of people and things that shape products, prices, procedures, places of exchange and mechanisms of operation and control in the market for commercialized care. With its processual understanding of markets the approach is particularly helpful with a view to newly emergent markets such as the one at the heart of this research project. The analysis ties into the current debate among government officials, unions, migrant organizations, organizations for the elderly, health care experts and home care agencies regarding further regulation of home care work in Switzerland. In order to decide whether, and to what extent, the Swiss government should regulate the newly emerging market for live-in care work and the commercial care agencies operating within it, policy makers need in-depth information on how this care market and the agencies operate both in Switzerland and in other geographical contexts.
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