Multi-level Analyses of Homecare Labor
Cynthia J. Cranford and Jennifer Jihye Chun
Research Handbook on Intersectionality
Edited by Mary Romero and Reshawna Chapple
This chapter develops a multi-level, intersectional framework for analyzing homecare that places dilemmas of servitude experienced by workers within the social organization of homecare, which is shaped by the state’s central role in the care political economy. It highlights three related dynamics of how the state arranges care: to consider the social locations of workers, receivers, or both; to recognize individual, organizational or multiple actors in the employment relationship; and to support workers’ collective voice. The value of the framework is illustrated through analysis of three cases of homecare in urban centers of California and Ontario (Canada). Findings reveal how a state’s limited regulation of employment conditions – combined with conflicting axes of oppression of workers and receivers – continually risks the slippage of homecare into servitude, even when receivers are also marginalized. Yet where there are mechanisms for workers’ collective voice, there is potential to challenge domestic servitude.
Keywords: homecare; care work; domestic work; labor; unions; race, class, and gender
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