The Dark Side of Care
Care is currently one of the most pressing societal issues. It is often seen as an altruistic act, motivated by love and affection amongst kin, and as a "calling" among social and healthcare professionals. However, the everyday realities of care are much more manifold than the ideals attached to it.
In this seminar, Dr Tiina Sihto and Dr Paula Vasara discussed themes from their forthcoming book which explores the dark side of care in the Finnish context. The edited collection contains 12 chapters that deal with 1) the gaps in care; 2) the breaking of norms related to care; 3) the limits of professionalism; and 4) distortions in the service system.
Dr Sihto and Dr Vasara presented empirical examples drawn from the book, including experiences of former young carers who had cared for their parent(s) with mental health or substance abuse problems in their childhood and youth; and the unintended consequences of the policy emphasis on ageing in place, in relation to being able to feel secure and cared for in later life.
The presentation was followed by a response from the the Discussant, Katherine O'Donnell, University College Dublin, Justice for Magdalenes Research Group.
Tiina Sihto, PhD, works as a postdoctoral researcher in the project Economic and social sustainability across time and space in an ageing society (SustAgeable, funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland) at University of Helsinki. She is also a member of the Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care (CoE AgeCare, funded by the Academy of Finland). Her research interests include the relational aspects of care, especially the emotions, norms and negotiations surrounding care.
Paula Vasara, PhD, is a university lecturer in social work at Tampere University. She is also a member of the Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care (CoE AgeCare, funded by the Academy of Finland). Her research interests include the relationship between individuals and places, and particularly the way these relationships change in time. She is also interested in care, responsibilisation of older individuals and universal vulnerability. Life course perspective is an important framework, and narrative analysis an obvious choice of method for her.