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Betydelsen av kön och hudfärg i äldreboendets vardag under olika organisatoriska villkor
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2018 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
The meaning of gender and skin-color in the everyday life of nursing homes : The impact of organizational conditions (English)
Abstract [en]

Even though nursing home care in Sweden and Canada takes place in different care contexts and utilizes different organisational models, in both countries, the traditional image of an ideal care worker is characterized by femininity and whiteness. However, today, in both countries, the care workforce is becoming far more diverse, with increasing numbers of white men, and non-white women and men.

The overarching aim of this thesis is to study the meaning of gender and skin colour in the everyday life in Swedish and Canadian nursing homes. The study, based on observations and interviews, focuses on how organizational conditions contribute to creating, maintaining and challenging notions of gender and skin colour.

The thesis consists of four articles, analysing the following questions:

How is gender, in interaction with ethnicity and sexuality, expressed by women and men care workers in a Swedish nursing home? How do organizational conditions shape and influence men’s positions and their possibilities to be integrated and accepted as care workers in two Canadian nursing homes characterized by different care models?  How do organizational conditions impact on care workers’ strategies to handle skin colour, racism and language problems in Swedish and Canadian nursing homes characterized by different scope for care workers to exercise discretion? How do non-white men born outside Europe describe their experiences of working in Swedish nursing homes, and what does it mean for them to have a body that differs from the traditional image of a care worker?

Overall, the findings demonstrate that an interaction of gender and skin colour shapes the workers’ experiences and position in the everyday life of care. The most profound impact is on those who deviate the most from the normative care worker, non-white men care workers. Significantly, the results also show that the ability for the organization to handle diversity is highly dependent on whether or not the workers are able to exercise discretion in their daily work. If these organizational conditions do not exist, there is a high risk that men and non-white workers will be seen as problematic by both co-workers and residents.

In order to mitigate these risks and manage the increasing diversity of those working in nursing homes, it is essential to recognize the importance of organizational conditions that can create and ensure acceptance and integration of care workers from diverse backgrounds. Therefore, questions about gender and skin colour must be recognized as a priority for management, an organizational matter that should not be left to the individual or the work group to handle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för socialt arbete, Stockholms universitet , 2018. , p. 124
Series
Rapport i socialt arbete, ISSN 0281-6288 ; 151
Keywords [en]
nursing home, care work, organizational conditions, gender, race, ethnicity, Sweden, Canada.
Keywords [sv]
äldreboende, omsorgsarbete, organisatoriska villkor, genus, kön, etnicitet, Sverige, Kanada
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153419ISBN: 978-91-7797-131-3 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-132-0 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-153419DiVA, id: diva2:1186514
Public defence
2018-04-13, Aula Svea, Socialhögskolan, Sveavägen 160, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: Accepted.

Available from: 2018-03-21 Created: 2018-02-28 Last updated: 2018-03-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Care Work in a Swedish Nursing Home: Gendered Norms and Expectations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Care Work in a Swedish Nursing Home: Gendered Norms and Expectations
2013 (English)In: Designing Wellbeing in Elderly Care Homes / [ed] Anneli Hujala, Sari Rissanen, Susann Vihma, Espoo: School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University , 2013, p. 148-161Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The picture of a traditional care worker is changing. Nowadays more men and immigrants of different backgrounds are working in nursing homes. This chapter describes and analyses how gender, interacting with ethnicity and sexuality, is expressed by male and female care workers in a Swedish nursing home. What kinds of feminine and masculine stereotypes occur and how is care constructed by different care workers? It seems that the intersection between various identity categories, such as gender, ethnicity and sexuality will create different opportunities and limitations for the care workers in the increasingly diverse nursing homes of the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Espoo: School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, 2013
Series
Aalto University publication series Crossover, ISSN 1799-4977 ; 2/2013
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87327 (URN)978-952-60-4968-7 (ISBN)978-952-60-4967-0 (ISBN)
Projects
Omsorg i omvandling
Available from: 2013-02-02 Created: 2013-02-02 Last updated: 2018-03-06Bibliographically approved
2. Gender Regimes in Ontario Nursing Homes: Organization, Daily Work, and Bodies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender Regimes in Ontario Nursing Homes: Organization, Daily Work, and Bodies
2017 (English)In: Canadian Journal on Aging, ISSN 0714-9808, E-ISSN 1710-1107, Vol. 36, no 2, p. 196-208Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Today more men work in the long-term care sector, but men are still in the minority. Little is known about men's experiences in care work, and the dilemmas and opportunities they face because of their gender. This article focuses on men care workers' integration into the organization and flow of nursing home work as perceived by these workers and staff members. Using a rapid ethnography method in two Ontario nursing homes, we found work organization affected interpretations of gender and race, and that workers' scope for discretion affected the integration and acceptance of men as care workers. In a nursing home with a rigid work organization and little worker discretion, women workers perceived men workers as a problem, whereas at a nursing home with a more flexible work organization that stressed relational care, both women and men workers perceived men workers as a resource in the organization.

Keywords
aging, nursing home, Canada, work organization, masculinity, race
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-140997 (URN)10.1017/S0714980817000071 (DOI)000401275600006 ()
Available from: 2017-03-27 Created: 2017-03-27 Last updated: 2018-02-28Bibliographically approved
3. ”Jag bryr mig inte om de kallar mig svart”: betydelsen av hudfärg och språk i svenska och kanadensiska äldreboenden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>”Jag bryr mig inte om de kallar mig svart”: betydelsen av hudfärg och språk i svenska och kanadensiska äldreboenden
(Swedish)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Nursing home care work in Sweden and Canada takes place in different policy contexts. Canadian nursing homes are comparatively big and the work is oriented towards a medical model while Swedish nursing homes are typically smaller and oriented towards a social care model. Common to both countries, however, is an increasing reliance on labour conducted by immigrant and non-white workers. This paper investigates workers’ experience of skin colour and seeks to understand how the challenge of racism is managed in the different organisational contexts. The study finds that racism is a common experience for dark-skinned workers in both countries and that these experiences usually are silently accepted or excused. However a difference between the countries is that lower staffing levels and lower autonomy for workers in Canadian nursing homes provide fewer possibilities to re-organise work to protect workers from racism compared to Sweden. The organizational model in Sweden, with a focus on social relations, also required proper language skills from the workers. In the Canadian organizational model, where care work was focused on bodily care, the need for and expectations of language skills were less pronounced. Still, none of the countries have strategies to seriously address issues of language problems, racism and the experience of being a dark-skinned care worker in eldercare.

Keywords
Racism, Sweden, Canada, Nursing Home, Skin Colour, Organization
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153245 (URN)
Available from: 2018-02-22 Created: 2018-02-22 Last updated: 2018-02-28Bibliographically approved
4. I en annan situation? Erfarenheter av att vara man, född utanför Europa och arbeta i äldreboenden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>I en annan situation? Erfarenheter av att vara man, född utanför Europa och arbeta i äldreboenden
2018 (Swedish)In: Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift, ISSN 1104-1420, Vol. 25, no 3-4, p. 231-249Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [sv]

The normative picture of a care worker as a white middle-aged woman is under transition; today more Swedish-born men and more immigrant women and men work in residential care. However, there is scarce knowledge regarding migrant men’s experience of care work, an occupation dominated by women where the requested characteristics challenge stereotypical assumptions about immigrant masculinities. In order to reduce this knowledge gap this study aims to explore the experiences of being a non-white man working in nursing homes. The study is based on qualitative interviews, and the data is analysed from a theoretical perspective that considers the body as a situation where lived experiences shape the individual’s scope of discretion. The findings focus on five themes: the way into the work, the questioned body, collegial relationships, relations with female and male residents, and the non-white body as vulnerable. The analysis indicates that both gender and skin colour are fundamental to understand the men’s situation, but these categories had different meaning depending on the situation. When the men helped female residents, they had to balance between respecting the women’s bodily integrity and convincing them to accept help. When they helped male residents, gender was considered as shared experience, which meant that they could understand the men differently than women workers. However, as several of the women rejected men as care workers, the men’s situation became conditional since too many men generated organizational dilemmas. The men also faced racism from residents, but although this evoke feelings of anger, they argued that racist comments were an integral part of their work, and therefore difficult to change. Another challenge was to defend their occupation to migrant men outside their work place who considered care work unsuitable for men in their situation.

National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153247 (URN)
Available from: 2018-02-22 Created: 2018-02-22 Last updated: 2019-07-14Bibliographically approved

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