How the Rhetoric of Reaction Justifies the Legalization of Migrant Care Labour in Austria. CANCELLED

Friday, July 18, 2014: 4:30 PM
Room: Booth 40
Marianne EGGER DE CAMPO , Public Administration, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Berlin, Germany
Austria legalized the 24/7 care for older adults provided mainly by migrant carers from poorer Eastern European countries. The debate around this legalization during the years 2006-2008 shows patterns similar to Albert Hirschman’s Rhetoric of Reaction: The jeopardy thesis claims that a legalization according to established labour law standards of domestic care personnel would lead to skyrocketing costs jeopardizing the sustainability of the welfare state. The futility thesis denied that the existing legal system of elder care would be sufficient for severely care dependent older adults, since home care is delivered in relatively short house calls and hardly available on weekends or at night. The perversity thesis again imputed the paradox effect of a veritable care crisis to the legalization, because migrant care workers would fear retroactive punishment.

The Rhetoric of reaction aims at diminishing social rights for people in need of the welfare state.

So the legalization subjected the mostly migrant care workers to much worse working conditions compared to domestic care personnel enjoying social security and the benefits of collective bargaining.