1st Edition

Ethnomorality of Care Migrants and their Aging Parents

    214 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    What happens when the parents of migrants age and need care in mobile and aging societies? Ethnomorality of Care acts as a window in sharing how physical distance challenges family-centered elderly care by juxtaposing transnational families with non-migrant families.

    A novel approach that explores intentions and moral beliefs concerning elderly care alongside practical care arrangements, Ethnomorality of Care presents a concept of care which recognizes how various factors shape the experience of care, including: national, regional, and local contexts, economic inequalities, gender, care and migration regimes. Based on the findings of a multi-sited research carried out between 2014 and 2017 in Poland and the UK, this perceptive volume also seeks to demonstrate how researchers and practitioners can use ethnomorality of care approach to examine non-migrant families and other types of care.

    Helping readers to better understand the lived experience of care receivers and givers beyond kinship care, Ethnomorality of Care will appeal to graduate students, researchers, policy makers and care practitioners interested in fields such as migration studies, transnational studies and social and cultural gerontology.


    List of Figures


    List of abbreviations

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Chapter 2: Ethnomorality of care: theoretical framework

    What is care? From the existing approaches to ethnomorality of care

    Inner diversity of care

    Care in relationships

    Process and agency in care

    Local contexts and cultures of care

    Care as a morally-informed concept

    Care - migration nexus

    Long distance care provision and emotional care

    Delegation of care tasks and coordination of care activities

    Cultural differences between the place of origin and the migration destination

    Ethnomorality of care

    Towards an emic definition of care

    Conclusions – care-contact continuum

    Chapter 3: How to study ethnomorality of care? Research methodology

    Multi-sited transnational research

    Mixed-method research

    Monographic study of Kluczbork and Końskie

    Quantitative components of the research

    Ethnographies of local care regimes

    Researching care through in-depth interviews

    Recruiting interviewees from Kluczbork and Końskie in the UK

    Benefits and challenges of matched sample in research on transnational families

    Data analysis

    Ethical issues in researching elderly care

    Chapter 4: Main actors of care and local care regimes in two studied locations

    Care actors

    Polish care regime

    Local care regimes


    Public institutions


    Third sector

    Informal non-familial individuals

    Transnationalization of local care regimes


    Chapter 5: Care as a part of moral beliefs on old age

    Norms as a part of the Polish care culture

    Normative beliefs on care for the elderly people in the two towns

    Normative discourse on care in the old age

    Values as a basis of beliefs on family care provision…

    …and its morally justified limitations

    Beliefs on the quality of institutional care provision

    Moral dilemmas regarding the financing and organization of institutional care

    Migration-driven changes in beliefs on care

    The place of caregiving in the normative beliefs on the old age


    Chapter 6: Care intentions – envisaging elderly care

    Declarations of care commitment

    Excuses and justifications

    Local siblings as default caregivers

    The moral equation of care


    Appeals to migrants’ well-being

    Appeals to parents’ well-being

    Appeal to the good quality of institutional care

    "Whatever will be, will be" and wishful thinking (performatives)


    Chapter 7: Typology of care arrangements

    Limited care

    Emotional support

    Material support: emotional gifts

    Material support: instrumental gifts

    Financial support

    Personal assistance

    Loose network of care

    Sociability in later life

    Networks of "latent" actors

    Collaboration, division of tasks and coordination within networks

    Dense network of care

    Health condition, intermediary types and type-switching

    Diversity of dense networks of care

    Role of public in-home care services in the networks of care

    Principal care provider

    Familial principal care provider

    Every day of frailty

    Health condition – diseases, frailty and suffering

    Daily care tasks

    The experience of hands-on daily care

    Engagement of other social actors

    Migrants in families of frail and dying parents

    Institutional principal care provider

    Nursing home as a shelter

    Nursing home as a social milieu

    Coordination within the institution

    The role of family and close non-familial individuals


    Chapter 8: Adding a temporal dimension: Care sequences and flows

    Care sequences

    Intensification of care arrangement

    The same care arrangement in spite of higher levels of dependency

    Reduced or less complex care

    Occasional intensification of care arrangement

    Seasonal sequence of care arrangements

    Care flows

    Personal care provided by the elder adults

    Personal care provided for the grandchildren abroad

    Personal care for an adult child

    Material care provided by the elder adults

    Financial care provided by the elder adults

    Emotional care provided by the elder adults


    Chapter 9: Ethnomoralities of care – Conclusions

    From ethnomorality to ethnomoralities

    Regional differences in the ethnomoralities of care

    Socio-economic differences in the ethnomoralities of care

    Gender differences in the ethnomoralities of care

    Ethnomoralities of care and intergenerational solidarity in the families

    Application of ethnomorality of care perspective in future research

    Future: Brexit and the elderly care in transnational Polish families



    Agnieszka Radziwinowiczówna is Assistant Professor and Project Manager at the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw, Poland

    Anna Rosińska-Kordasiewicz is a Research Fellow at the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw, Poland

    Weronika Kloc-Nowak is a Researcher at the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw, Poland

    This book is a highly original exploration of the complex negotiations of moral and practical issues faced by transnational families with ageing relatives. Through the skillful analysis of the multifaceted interrelations of beliefs, intended actions and actual practices of care we get a better understanding of the moral, relational and political challenges to local, national and transnational care arrangements. Ethnomorality of Care provides a much needed cohesive perspective in times of ageing migrating societies.

    Bernhard Weicht is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Innsbruck and the author of The Meaning of Care.

    This excellent and fascinating book breaks new intellectual ground developing the concept of the ethnomorality of care to extend understanding of what Polish families think about, intend to do about and actually do about the care of ageing family members in the context of high rates of outward migration and low levels of state provision for elder care. Based on an ambitious research design composed of surveys, indepth interviews and ethnogaphic observations spanning Poland and the UK, Radziwinowiczówna, Rosińska-Kordasiewicz and Kloc-Nowak offer the reader a rich body of data, which is presented in an eminently readable manner. Their insightful analysis will have resonance beyond Poland, particularly in other Central and Eastern European countries experiencing similar challenges related to rapid population ageing, high rates of emigration and social and economic transition.

    Majella Kilkey is Reader in Social Policy at the University of Sheffield and editor of Family Life in An Age of Migration and Mobility. Global Perspectives through the Life Course.

    The authors of this study are after a[n] all-encompassing analytical concept, one that captures ‘care as outstretched between lived social norms defined in moral terms (moral beliefs), care intentions and actions (care arrangements)’. For this purpose, they have devised a new term, the ‘ethnomorality of care’ … By exploring the ethnomorality of care in two communities □– the provincial Polish towns of Końskie and Kluczbork –□the authors sought to assess how well their members were able to put into practice the types and level of care presented as ideal. The inhabitants of these communities overwhelmingly declared their support for care by – and within – families. However as the authors discovered, changing economic and social conditions, such as deindustrialisation, increased female labour force participation and migration, challenged families’ ability to adhere to this norm, despite paying lip service to it.

    Sonya Michel is Professor Emerita at the University of Maryland and editor of Women, Migration, and the Work of Care: The United States in Comparative Perspective and Race, Ethnicity and Welfare States: An American Dilemma? Book review appeared in the International Journal of Care and Caring.