Sustainable Wellbeing: Developing a Conceptual and Analytical Framework for Policy and Practice in Care and Caring

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:45
Oral Presentation
Sue YEANDLE, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Norah KEATING, University of Swansea, United Kingdom
Allister MCGREGOR, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
This paper explores theoretical and methodological challenges confronting the team developing the ‘Sustainable Care: connecting people and systems’ programme*. Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, this asks ‘How can the care and support needs of adults living at home with chronic health problems or disabilities be sustainably met, with positive wellbeing outcomes for care systems, care providers and care receivers?’. Summarising our initial theoretical and conceptual work, the introduction outlines our rationale for adopting a multidisciplinary approach and sets out the central issue in our work: the accelerating ‘crisis of care’, particularly in relation to adults with support needs - an issue currently acute in the UK, but of concern in all the countries we are studying and around the world. Next, we engage with ‘contested concepts’ of care policies, presenting an overview of existing theorisations of care, and examining the relationship between care and conceptions of wellbeing. We draw on an extensive body of scholarship in ethics and political science, feminist economics, social policy, gerontology and sociology, also highlighting key concepts and theories in employment, family, health, migration and technology studies. The paper then engages with lacunae in understandings of care and wellbeing and presents our initial conceptual framework, which we will test in subsequent empirical/ analytical work. This identifies relevant actors/ interests, and points of actual/ potential harmony, separation and conflict. We conclude with our perspective on the value and challenges of multi-disciplinary theorisation of care and caring, and its role in developing evidence of value to policymakers and stakeholders. The paper presents ‘work in progress’, aiming to contribute new understandings of care focusing on: structural change in care systems; roles, relationships and diversity of social actors; and all forms of caring labour. *Funded 2017-21 by UK ESRC and resources contributed by participating universities.