1963-2013 - 50 years of Research for Social Change

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Back | Programme Area: Gender and Development

UNRISD Conference on the Political and Social Economy of Care

Date: 6 Mar 2009



The issue of care is now high on the social policy agenda of many advanced industrialized countries, and in this context feminist academic research on care has proliferated. But this research has been remarkably “local”. Many of the trends it has documented are not universal, nor are the policy options. The distinct economic, social and political conditions under which care is provided in developing countries have not received the same level of scrutiny.

What form do care arrangements take in diverse developing countries? How do these arrangements contest or entrench existing inequalities (of class and gender, in particular)? Are families and households (in all their diversity) the only site where care is produced? Do we need to distinguish between different forms of familialism? How are states responding to structural changes and socio-cultural norms that shape care needs? Have issues of care entered the public debate? What forces have facilitated their visibility and to what effect? Speakers at the conference will address such questions, reflecting on a diverse range of country experiences that span Latin America, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and considering wider themes that emerge from comparative analyses taking into account European and North American contexts as well. The conference will begin with keynote addresses delivered by two leading feminist thinkers—Joan Tronto and Elizabeth Jelin—who will speak about the ethics and politics of care in an increasingly unequal world.