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Who cares? Rebuilding care in a post-pandemic World

Grant number: 21/07888-3
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: February 01, 2022 - January 31, 2025
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Sociology - Other specific Sociologies
Cooperation agreement: Trans-Atlantic Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities
Principal researcher:Nadya Araujo Guimarães
Grantee:Nadya Araujo Guimarães
Principal researcher abroad: Javier Armando Pineda Duque
Institution abroad: Universidad de los Andes, Colombia, Colombia
Home Institution: Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (CEBRAP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Ana Amélia Camarano ; Anna Bárbara Araujo ; Daniel Groisman ; Guita Grin Debert ; Luana Simões Pinheiro ; Pedro Augusto Gravatá Nicoli ; Regina Stela Corrêa Vieira ; Simone Wajnman

Abstract

The pandemic highlighted the centrality of care. COVID-19 heightened awareness of the myriad forms of social connections in care as essential work crucial to the functioning of society. Care work has never been so visible, yet so precarious and vulnerable. Disruptions due to COVID made visible the web of social relationships of care and revealed the vulnerabilities of care recipients and caregivers. Abundant evidence disclosed the disproportionately negative consequences of COVID-19 on women, particularly women of color, migrants, and refugees, both as essential care workers and as recipients of care. The pandemic also revealed the limitations of care systems, exacerbating the care crisis worldwide with a greater impact in vulnerable territories. This project seeks to uncover and understand the fragmented and uncoordinated matrix of care provision, and the resultant overlapping, and at times competing polices and regulations. Rebuilding a robust and more resilient care organization requires a comprehensive understanding of the care economy and entails learning from innovative initiatives in different countries. Our transnational team, extending previous comparative research networks, will bring together experts on care studies to analyze countries with differing welfare regimes, level of inequalities, social organization of care, and health systems in Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, United Kingdom and United States to explain responses and capacities to cope with the crisis. Comparisons will proceed along four main axes: (i) The impact of the pandemic on needs and modalities of care provision. Axis 1 explores how different types of families deal with the challenges imposed both by the usual care needs and by increasing demands during the pandemic. We will survey alternative methodologies to organize national databases to identify the existing connections between kinship, economic activities, transfers of time dedicated to care and the strategies for hiring paid domestic workers. (ii) Labor conditions and rights in a post pandemic world. Axis 2 carries out a cross-country survey in partnership with collective organizations of paid care workers in the 6 countries. It aims to assess the employment conditions, health, and well-being, pre- and during the pandemic, encompassing the diversity of occupational groups that fall into the definition of care workers. In parallel with the survey, qualitative studies will focus on experiences of different workers in paid care pre- and during the pandemic. (iii) Care as a strategic dimension and pillar for public policies on social infrastructure rebuilding. Axis 3 proposes a strategy for analyzing the infrastructure of care systems and care-related policies and will deepen understanding of state responses to the pandemic, an essential issue for building back better more resilient care systems post-COVID. We will examine two main components required for re-building care in the future: social infrastructure and the policy matrix. Comparison across cities and countries will provide a more precise mapping of distinctly different care systems, anchored in a multi-scalar approach. (iv) Caring strategies when the state fails. Axis 4 will focus on different forms of vulnerability and the role of collective action to overcome them, by means of in-depth qualitative studies in vulnerable areas of different metropolises. Since vulnerability doesn't just stem from poverty, we will also analyze inequalities in access to care that come from stigmatization and discrimination by sexual orientation or cultural/religious background. We will share preliminary findings with care workers and key stakeholders from the co-designed research and promote workshops to collect feedback and prepare policy briefs for each country. Public engagement activities will disseminate results and policy recommendations. Anonymized findings will be presented at conferences and published. (AU)

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