Same Words, Different Ideas? the Social Construction of Care Markets in Italy and UK

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Costanzo RANCI, Polytechnic of Milan, Italy
Marco ARLOTTI, Polytechnic of Milan, Italy
Stefania CEREA, Polytechnic of Milan, Italy
Privatization of care has been occurring in many European countries in the last decade, and mainly in Anglo-Saxon and Mediterranean countries where care regimes have been characterized by strong institutional inertia. While research has extensively explored the political and institutional mechanisms (i.e. the type of care policies as well as immigration controls) through which care has been increasingly privatized, so far only a few studies have studied the role played by ideas and public discourse in the social construction of care markets. Building on the Kingdon’s agenda setting approach, this paper is aimed at reconstructing the public discourse about the privatization of care in Italy and the UK. Its focus is on ideas about quality of care, requirements and characteristics of care work that have supported the shift towards care market solutions. Our analysis is empirically based on the reconstruction of the public regulation of care markets in Italy and UK and a content analysis of the public discourse that has accompanied the rise of care markets in the last two decades (2002–2016) in both countries. It provides evidence on how care markets have been differently shaped and legitimized through distinct social and cultural dynamics in these two countries.