A workshop series organised by the Centre for Philosophy and Political Economy (CPPE), School of Management, University of Leicester, UK
Keynote Speaker: Silke Roth (Southampton)
Workshop 1: The Business of Care
Convened by Vanessa Beck, Steve Brown and Fabian Frenzel
CPPE, School of Management, University of Leicester, UK
Date: 10th December 2015
Certain transformations in our political economic landscape can be distilled according to regimes of care. Fordist care was provided primarily by female ‘free labour’ within the family context, while the state played a large role through institutions like schools, pensions, prisons and hospitals. By contrast the private sector role was rather limited although, of course regimes are uneven and varied across different countries and social sectors. The post-Fordist regime of care was triggered, in part, by a rebellion against the invisible and unvalued nature of female ‘free labour’ in the care domain, for example in housework or child care. Demands for more autonomous, neither market nor state based forms of care were made and realised in new social and urban movements that pursued attempts to create new forms of social reproduction and care in communes, housing co-ops or self organised childcare. Despite the progressive impetus of many of these initiatives, it is possible to see, with hindsight, how demands for autonomous care were subsumed within the general move away from state provision and towards privatisation as well as individualisation of care responsibility. In the post-Fordist regime the provision of care is increasingly organised around the needs of capitalist valorisation. This drive towards privatisation is ostensibly about efficiency and budgetary restraint, the underlying motives, however, may well be more diffuse, pointing to the opening of new sources of surplus value capture for a growing sector of market oriented care provision.
Yet as the State outsources care jobs (in prisons, health, schools, etc), the organisation of markets has taken on specific characteristics. This includes the internationalisation of the care regime with transnational businesses of care, a transnational labour force and the expanding mobilities of care receivers. A further aspect is the increasing financialisation of care, which includes the creation of ever-new financial vehicles, from Private-Public Partnerships to social impact bonds that aim at ensuring efficiency in the care sector but often do the exact opposite. Both nationally and internationally we witness the renewed mobilisation of ‘free labour’. Unlike in the Fordist regime of care, this now aims at volunteers across age and gender groups and framings such as the ‘big society’ and 'international volunteering'. Beside this unremunerated work we see increasingly precarious conditions of labour in the care sector, often migrant labour, on zero hour contracts and minimum wages. The precise composition of this labour market is another area of interest. What novel forms of organisation are emerging in response to our present regime of care? And what resistance is emerging?
Finally, although price is often taken to be the primary concern of post-Fordist care provision, the quality of care cannot be ignored, though it is difficult to measure. Beyond a private industry of care provision we also find a new ‘industry of measurement’ that claims to assess the value and quality of privately administered care. The organisation of these new organisational patterns and industries of care are the subject of this workshop.
We invite papers that interrogate the shift to a post-Fordist care regime. We are interested in a variety of scales, from local to global in which this shift becomes visible and invite contributions from across care sectors broadly defined, from health (including mental health) to housework, from medicine to (social) housing, from education to welfare. We are interested in analyses of businesses of care, including care evaluation and financialisation, in investigations of the labour of care, national and international, waged, ‘free’ and precarious and the struggles of this labour. Finally we are also interested in receivers of care and their responses to the post-Fordist care regime.
The broad scope of the call is intended to allow for a comprehensive investigation of the post-Fordist care regime. Some of the threads of this workshop will be picked up in two following workshops that chart ‘Alternatives of Care’ and the ‘Cosmologies of Care’, to be announced separately in due course.
Please submit abstracts of up to 750 words to describe your paper. Invited papers will be presented in Pecha Kucha style. Presentations consist of 20 slides that have to be presented in 20 seconds each. (Follow this link to find more information on Pecha Kucha). The organisation of the day aims to encourage shared discussion and the format of Pecha Kucha allows for succinct presentations. Papers will be commented on by our invited keynote Silke Roth as well as the three workshop convenors. We also invite all speakers to submit outline papers (of about 2000 words) to be shared among participants prior of the workshop.
Dates:Please submit abstracts to ff48 AT le.ac.uk by the 30th September 2015. We will respond by mid October 2015. Presenters should submit an outline paper (of max. 2000 words) by the 1st December 2015 to circulate among participants of the workshop.
We also plan to facilitate a publication of full papers from the event.
The workshop is free of charge, and refreshments and lunch will be provided during the day. A limited number of travel bursaries is available. They will be targeted at presenting PhD students and researchers without access to institutional funding in the first instance. Please indicate if you would like to be considered for a travel bursary as you submit your abstract.
Dr Fabian Frenzel
Lecturer in Organisation
School of Management
University of Leicester