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”Jag bryr mig inte om de kallar mig svart”: betydelsen av hudfärg och språk i svenska och kanadensiska äldreboenden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
(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.

Keyword [sv]
Racism, Sweden, Canada, Nursing Home, Skin Colour, Organization
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153245OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-153245DiVA, id: diva2:1185008
Available from: 2018-02-22 Created: 2018-02-22 Last updated: 2018-02-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Betydelsen av kön och hudfärg i äldreboendets vardag under olika organisatoriska villkor
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Betydelsen av kön och hudfärg i äldreboendets vardag under olika organisatoriska villkor
2018 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
The meaning of gender and skin-color in the everyday life of nursing homes : The impact of organizational conditions
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
Keyword
nursing home, care work, organizational conditions, gender, race, ethnicity, Sweden, Canada., äldreboende, omsorgsarbete, organisatoriska villkor, genus, kön, etnicitet, Sverige, Kanada
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153419 (URN)978-91-7797-131-3 (ISBN)978-91-7797-132-0 (ISBN)
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

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