Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
The aim of this study was to describe and analyse the constructions and
interplay of gender, ethnicity and sexuality between female and male careworkers
and residents in a nursing home. To explore this from a qualitative
everyday life’s approach, material was collected through participating observations,
interviews, and informal conversation with careworkers and residents.
The result points out that historical patterns of gender and caring related
to this context still matter and affect both careworkers and residents. For
example, female careworkers talked about the concept of caring as a genuine
female experience, while male careworkers, who were in a minority, instead
talked about caring in more gender-neutral words. The result also indicates
that a larger number of male careworkers not necessarily leads to a higher
grade of gender equality. Instead, the presence of male careworkers made the
traditional gender-power order more visible.
When analyzing outcomes of the interplay of gender, ethnicity and sexuality,
it was obvious that this was a complicated process. On one hand this
interplay of different categories seemed to affect female and male careworkers
in a similar way. On the other hand the interplay of gender, ethnicity and
sexuality can confront female and male careworkers with different types of
dilemmas. Therefore, an attempt to understand the position and experience
of being a careworker with non-Swedish background or being a nonheterosexual
careworker must include a gender-perspective.
A main result from the study was that the careworkers supported the residents
to perform their social gender-identity through the daily interactions.
These interactions were foremost influenced by the careworkers’ own expectations
about older women’s and older men’s needs and behaviour. The four
gender-constellations that occurred in the care-interactions also differed
from each other with regard to what careworkers and residents talked about,
and how they talked and acted. Even if the outcome from different types of
gendered meetings differed, there were also some similarities. It was obvious
that both female and male careworkers seemed to think and talk about the
female residents as more dependent and vulnerable than male residents. To
conclude, traditional norms and a gender-power order that influences society
also affects careworkers and residents in the nursing home.
2009. , 145 p.