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The Caring Self


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: On the Front Lines of Care 1. The Costs of Caring 2. Doing the Dirty Work: The Physical and Emotional Labor of Home Care 3. The Rewards of Caring 4. Organizing Home Care Conclusion: Improving the Conditions of Paid Caregiving Appendix: Methods Notes References Index

About the Author

Clare L. Stacey is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Kent State University.


"Clare Stacey's beautifully written sociological study of home health care workers in California and Ohio, The Caring Self, probes the nature of home health care work itself and the motivations of the workers... Her wonderful, qualitative study of home care aides, which draws on interviews with 33 women, shows how deeply the relational component of care shapes the experiences of the job."-Candace Howes, Women's Review of Books (May/June 2012) "By choosing to focus on an occupational group that has been largely invisible, Stacey reveals some unique aspects of emotional experiences and management among home care aides but also show how their emotional experiences are affected by their crisscrossing social locations. In so doing, she demonstrates how emotional resources are enabling home care workers to fulfill the values that authentically underlie their caring selves at the same time that framing their jobs in emotion-laden terms exempts them not just from higher pay and benefits, but from large-scale social policies guaranteeing worker protections."-Citation by the Recent Contribution Award Committee (Emotions Section, American Sociological Association) "Given the low wages and lack of benefits, it should come as no surprise that more than half the PCAs in the United States receive some form of public assistance such as Medicaid, cash welfare payments, or food stamps (PHI, Caring in America, 2011). Equally unsurprising, very few PCAs are represented by a union. Beyond these broad descriptie strokes, we know little about this burgeoning workforce. But thanks to Clare Stacey's terrific new book, The Caring Self, we are beginning to learn... Stacey's work vividly illustrates the humanity behind the dismal statistics on the care workforce. It is a profound revelation."-Carrie R. Leana, Industrial and Labor Relations Review (July 2012) "Clare L. Stacey's in-depth interviews of home health care workers, each of whom constructs an account of a 'caring self,' lets us see behind the statistics. Here we see how poorly paid and marginalized workers positively construct their work and their lives. This book is thus a valuable contribution to understanding the lives of home health care workers, the unsung heroes of contemporary health care."-Joan C. Tronto, University of Minnesota "This beautifully rendered portrait of home care aides illuminates a poignant paradox: the very commitments that lend meaning and dignity to care work often leave caregivers vulnerable to exploitation. Clare L. Stacey deftly situates her qualitative research within a larger critique of public policies that disrespect and discourage home care provision."-Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts Amherst "Bringing the voices of home aides back into the conversation about long-term care, The Caring Self advances sociological analysis on the relationship between work and identity formation. In offering a compelling argument for the revaluation of companionship as labor, it deepens our understanding of emotion work and the self-perceptions of those who tend to others out of an ethic of service rather than for monetary reward alone. In doing so, Clare L. Stacey helps explain why the union strategy of linking better wages to better care is so powerful and why wage gains without recognition of the dignity of the work are not enough."-Eileen Boris, Hull Professor and Chair, Department of Feminist Studies, University of California Santa Barbara, coeditor, Intimate Labors: Cultures, Technologies, and the Politics of Care

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