This book explores the experiences of informal home carers in the different welfare systems of the former West Germany and East Germany, and Britain. It is innovative in using a biographical case study approach to compare caring situations and caring strategies in the three different societies. The detail and variety of the case studies show how particular social and welfare patterns give rise to recognisable 'cultures of care'.
show how the social relations of caring are structured within and outside the home environment
offer a research tool to take into account the significance of informal networks
use separate analysis of 'lived' and 'told' life stories to highlight personal processes of continuity and change in meeting the challenge of caring
link individual caring strategies to the structural features of welfare societies.
European comparative research creates opportunities for fresh thinking about social policy, showing best practice and piecing together the strengths of each system. The findings of this book underline the significance of caring within social policy agendas and the need to extend and change the parameters of comparative social policy beyond a fixation on social insurance. Cultures of care makes an important contribution to debates about the need to 'strengthen the social' and to build a creative sense of moral agency in welfare systems. It provides a valuable new resource for both academic teaching and the training of social professionals.
Prue Chamberlayne is a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Health and Social Welfare, The Open University. Anette King is a Research Programme Officer at the East Kent Hospitals Trust.
Introduction; West Germany - the pull into the home; East Germany - the push out of the home; Britain - sitting on the doorstep; Biography and caring; Carers and the social world; Conclusion - caring as a political challenge.