In the context of a care crisis in Germany, care work done by volunteers is increasingly being semi-formalized by the state and used in professional care work contexts to relieve families and professionals. However, voluntary care has not yet been adequately studied from a care-specific perspective. This study examines in what way voluntary care can be considered decent care from a care-ethical and empirical perspective.
Considering findings of a qualitative interview study, the study examines the special features of voluntary care, addresses its socio-political expansion, and asks about the decency of voluntary care in elder care and social work.
Care work done by volunteers is a special kind of care work, which has advantages but also disadvantages regarding care-ethical requirements of decent care. The study examines under which conditions voluntary care violates these requirements and how this can be countered in socio-political terms.
Voluntary care is an under-researched phenomenon despite its increasing socio-political importance. While its state-led expansion can informalize and deprofessionalize care work at the expense of users, professionals, and volunteers, its analysis can help to illuminate the preconditions for decent care.
Haubner, T. (2023), "The rationality of voluntary care work: light and shadow of volunteering in Germany's care sector", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 43 No. 7/8, pp. 727-739. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-01-2022-0012
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