Rescuing the Rescuers – Female Care Worker in the Grip of Caring Power

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 09:30
Oral Presentation
Sylvia MEICHSNER, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
This paper seeks to explore the situation of un- or low-skilled local women working in residential care institutions for children and young people that have been established and are maintained by affluent religious groups from abroad. Drawing on empirical research in a large Mexican-American border town the trajectories of these women in the social space including the cumulative disadvantages inherent to their current position will be tracked. The way how these women are conceptualised by members of the religious groups who are trying to rescue them from a life at the margins of society will be examined and the overarching narrative framing this approach as well as the norms and values underpinning it will be traced. In so doing the power imbalances permeating and enabling the relationship between these women and their religious host institutions will become evident. Analysing them from the perspective of the Foucault-inspired concept of caring power the paper argues that inclusion and exclusion can be closely intertwined.