Insider perspectives of ‘outsiders’. A phenomenological study on migrant care workers in Italy.

  • Selma Haverkate

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Care Ethics


Objectives: This study aims to gain more insight in the perspectives of migrant elderly home care workers in Italy. In scrutinizing the experiences of these caregivers this research seeks to understand what these experiences mean in terms of good caring, to deliver a contribution to the care ethical field of inquiry. Background: As a consequence of an aging population and limited social services in Italy, the demand and supply of elderly care are out of balance. An increasing phenomenon is to hire a family assistant; these mainly immigrant women give daily home care and often live-in with the elderly. The family assistants are hired on an enormous scale, but their perspective is barely represented in public and political debates. How do they experience being a family assistant in Italy? Method: The data is collected by conducting in-depth interviews and participative observations. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis is used to analyse the data. Findings: Family assistants have dynamic positions towards their care recipient, they feel both dependent and in control. Within the caring relationship they try to build, they seem to constantly balance between proximity and distance. The family assistants fully commit themselves to the needs of the care recipient, and experience their own limits in doing so. Conclusion: It is not always taken into account the family assistants are dependent and vulnerable too. They are attuned with the care recipient but they do not always attune with themselves or receive care themselves. Therefore it is questioned whether this is good care, seen from a care ethical perspective.
Date of Award1 Jan 2017
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorM. A. Visse (Supervisor) & A. A. M. van Nistelrooij (Supervisor)

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