The Ethics of Transnational Market Familism: Inequalities and Hierarchies in the Italian Elderly Care

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This article examines the recent transformations of the Italian welfare state
from a familist welfare model to what I term transnational market familism. In
this model, families buy in care labour, commonly provided by migrant workers.
There is now a growing literature exploring both the transformations of the
Italian welfare model and the experiences of migrant workers providing care in
Italy. However, what has been overlooked in the current literature is the ethical
aspect of this model of welfare provision, which is part of the transnational
political economy of care. The article analyses the ethical implications of the
migrant-in-the-family model, which transforms the care relationship between
the caregiver and care receiver into a complex relationship between the family
member organising care, the migrant caregiver and the dependent care receiver.
The context of such welfare provision is transnational. Examining this care
triangle, I draw on care ethics and individualization perspective for an analysis
of how social policies safeguard, or overlook, human interaction and care
relationships in the context of global hierarchies. The article draws on
ethnographic data gathered in Naples, Italy, during 2004-2005, including
interviews with Neapolitan employers and elderly care-receivers, interviews
with migrant workers, as well as participant observations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthics and Social Welfare
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)184-197
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology

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