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Entwicklung, Entstehung und Ausformung (trans-)nationaler Pflege- und Betreuungsarrangements von Senioren im deutsch-italienischen Vergleich

Neukirch, Sabine

In recent years there has been an increasing academic interest in how welfare states solve the care deficit resulting from the growing populations of the elderly on the one hand and significant changes in traditional family care structures on the other hand: increasing female employment rate, changes in family and household structures and cultural attitudes, but still widespread traditional imbalances between partners‘ commitment to reproductive work. Whereas mainstream research devotes its attention above all to the interpersonal configuration of care regimes, there has been a shift in feminist research to the growing importance of transnational care work within the emergence of global labor markets. It was stated that nearly all western welfare states depend to various degrees on migrant care work both in service provision due to staff shortages and in private households due to the changes mentioned above. In particular, the welfare states belonging to the so-called conservative-corporate regimes such as Italy and Germany recourse to privately paid migrant female carers often living in their employer’s household and being strongly vulnerable to exploitation. For this doctoral thesis, Italy and Germany have been chosen as interesting cases for a comparison because of their rapid demographic and social development, which should have provoked political pressure towards new and adequate caring arrangements. For all structural similarities between the countries of this regime, the Mediterranean countries represent a discrete regulation type of welfare state due to specific features of their socio-economic development, labor market, migration regime and a strong familialism. Italy has a long tradition in employing migrant care workers in private households whereas in Germany this is quite a new development. The question therefore is, if Italy displays an extraordinary case resulting from its specific features and history or whether both countries show similar reasons for and characteristics of transnational care arrangements. Deriving from theories of welfare regimes, of concepts of social care as well as of migration this doctoral thesis applies an explicit binary analysis approach using secondary sources, survey data, policy documents and legislations to analyse interconnections of social developments, the care regime and the related labor market as well as the migration regime. The main finding concerning the Italian situation is that the country has undergone a radical and mostly uncoordinated marketization of care quite early and within this framework has developed a strong dependence on migrant care work in service delivery as well as in private households. These developments were based on a temporally rising economic prosperity, the beginning of irregular migration, the attraction of existing ex-post regularization measures, which consistently have been boosting both the demand for new irregular migration and the shadow economy. The state not only supported these trends but endowed families with generous cash of free use so that even the economically not well-off were able to hire migrant care work. The latter were also enabled to purchase private care on the market due to the political strengthening of an enduring familialism that goes far beyond a lack of public services in-kind and further measures of defamilialisation that are generally taken into account when it comes to comparing social policies. Concerning the German situation on the other hand, the implementation of the statutory long-term insurance scheme has led to a certain degree of defamilialisation and the social right of the individual (person) to opt for services in-kind which are not dependent on the public annual budget at hand or the place of living as in Italy. The benefits deriving from the cash-for-care scheme are mostly low and therefore not sufficient for paying a migrant carer, so that privately hiring migrant care workers is restricted to quite well-off people. The latter also results from the involvement of recruitment agencies whose emergence is connected to the german labour migration policy in the course of the EU enlargement whereas the employment of irregular third nationals – the main source a cheap labour force in Italy – has to be neglected in Germany.

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Neukirch, Sabine: Entwicklung, Entstehung und Ausformung (trans-)nationaler Pflege- und Betreuungsarrangements von Senioren im deutsch-italienischen Vergleich. 2016.

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