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The global bases of inequality regimes: the case of international nurse recruitment

Lena Näre (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland)
Tricia Cleland Silva (Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 23 December 2020

Issue publication date: 8 June 2021

411

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to critically examine Joan Acker's notion of inequality regimes by applying it to the case of global nurse care chains (GNCCs). The article examines the organisational practices of GNCCs and how inequality barriers are practiced and legitimised.

Design/methodology/approach

The article is based on qualitative interviews with different institutional representatives involved in Filipino nurse recruitment to Finland (N = 25), recruited Filipino nurses (N = 20) and Filipino nurses working in Finland (N = 9).

Findings

The article demonstrates different organisational practices through which inequality regimes are created and sustained. These include the racialised construction of the Philippines as situated in the global periphery and functioning as a resource of labour for the global core and the Filipino nurse as innately more caring. The inequalities are legitimised through deskilling in which the nurses' command of Finnish language is a key form of justification. Filipino nurses' precarious legal status renders them compliant workers from an organisational perspective and vulnerable workers who fear to claim their rights as workers.

Practical implications

By discussing barriers to inequality, the article illustrates how inequalities in diverse workplaces and the undervaluing of nurse work could be addressed.

Originality/value

The article uniquely applies Acker's inequality regimes to the study of GNCCs. It argues that the concept of inequality regimes would benefit from developing it towards a global context.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers, the editor and Professor Janne Tienari for their useful comments on the previous versions of the manuscript.

Citation

Näre, L. and Cleland Silva, T. (2021), "The global bases of inequality regimes: the case of international nurse recruitment", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 510-524. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-02-2020-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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