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The social dynamics of devaluation in an aged care context

Banks, S 2018 , 'The social dynamics of devaluation in an aged care context' , Journal of Sociology, vol. 54, no. 2 , pp. 167-177 , doi: 10.1177/1440783318766144.

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Abstract

This article examines the way that aged care workers and clients are devalued. It is argued that they share a stigmatised and marginalised position, not experiencing recognition at individual, rights or societal levels. The research draws on a qualitative, ethnographic study of aged care and disability support, with Honneth’s recognition theory used to analyse the intersection of practice and meaning in this work. The study reveals that workers’ and clients’ presentations of a competent self are compromised by external signals of mistrust and devaluing, forms of misrecognition. These include low wages and status for workers, public and policy discourses that position them and their clients as mendicant or undeserving, and demeaning treatment from organisations. In turn, those participants who lacked a sense of themselves as uniquely valuable, as deserving of rights, and as contributing to the shared project of society, displayed practices and perspectives that were disabling of themselves and one another. Their interactions were characterised by distrust, resistance and mutual disabling. Boomageddon and silver tsunami scenarios are part of the problem; such discourses of misrecognition must be contested.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Banks, S
Keywords: aged care, clients, recognition theory, social construction, workers
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Sociology
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN: 1440-7833
DOI / ID Number: 10.1177/1440783318766144
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 the authors

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