Cultural frameworks and global circuits

Authored by: Pei-Chia Lan

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses how culture constitutes the ways we understand and conduct carework. The dominant cultural script locates ideal care in the private sphere of nuclear family as the moral duty of female kin. It also creates a paradox between the moralization of unpaid care and the devaluation of paid carework. With the growing employment of migrant women as caregivers, the ethnic boundary and cultural distance between care providers and care recipients pose challenges to the performance of such intimate labor. Various societies, with a distinct combination of care regime and migration regime, develop different institutional solutions to this conundrum. People located in various segments of what I call the “global care circuits” manage to negotiate the cultural meaning of care at the intersection of the public-private, paid-unpaid, and love-money dichotomies.

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