Financialisation of Care: Investment and organising in the UK and US
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This research investigates the relationship between the crises of care and finance, and efforts to ensure that care is valued more highly. It explores why investment funds have acquired care homes, how they realise value, and the implications for workers and residents. It also examines the factors that have limited financialisation, including the activities of social and labour movements. These developments are studied through empirical case studies of three major UK care companies, and analysis of the strategies of selected movements in the UK and US. The research involved 64 interviews, observation and document analysis. A geographical perspective helps to illuminate uneven investment in real estate, the quality of the care homes produced, and the spatial dimensions of organising within globalised care systems. The research finds that financial ownership of care companies has been driven by their real estate assets, the availability of debt financing, and specific business models. Corporate debt has also enabled governments to displace and depoliticise responsibility for funding care. However, finance has not replaced labour as a source of value: care remains labour intensive and value can be extracted from low-status, poorly organised workers and clients. The thesis deploys feminist care ethics to analyse the effects of financial ownership and crisis on labour and residents, including evictions that result from care home closures and the production of new, ‘hotel-like’ facilities. Financialisation has, though, been limited by a lack of material resources in care and political opposition. In contesting financialised care, movements have used stories to locate economic agency; to address political, experiential and affective divides; and to promote alternative social relations of interdependence. Organising is crucial to creating space for such stories. Overall, financialisation has been enabled by the undervaluing of care, but it has also been limited by social values and relationships associated with care.
AuthorsHorton, Amy Eleanor
- Theses