5th Transforming Care Conference – Venice

Time in Care: The Temporality of Care Policy and Practices

June 24-26th 2021,  Cà Foscari University of Venice, Italy

2021 conference theme:

Time is a key dimension that structures the social organization of care, care relations and interactions, and care experiences. Time is also inherent to the institutionalization and change of care regimes. As such, the analysis of care policies and practices cannot do without the incorporation of a temporal perspective.

Time plays a key role in the regulation of care provision, both in formal and informal care. It is not by chance that New Public Management, in an attempt to govern, shape, assess care practices emphasizes a tight control of the time for care provision, its allocation, organization, ordering. The quest for a balance between care responsibilities and paid work can be seen as a demand for time. The division of time for care and for work according to class, gender and ethnicity lines is a core issue to understand interdependencies and inequalities and to device policies to counterbalance them. The perception of time and the demands about time on the part of people receiving care, and on those professionally or informally providing care may differ to such an extent that care arrangements may be seen as a compromise around time conflicts. Care permeates, in different forms and meanings, the entire life course. The analysis of care-related risks, policies and intervention throughout the life of individuals and families and in relation to life-course transitions is a key instrument to account for the interdependency of generations, the accumulation of advantages and disadvantage, the role played by policies in responding to specific needs. Time, e.g. in terms of entitlement according to age, time in employment, caring times, are also key features of the institutional definition of care-related risks and care interventions. And care may take different meanings and forms in “normal” and “disruptive” times as in the case of critical events, such as the Corona pandemic. Time becomes very short and crucial especially in emergency situations such as the Covid-19 outbreak, when decisions are to be taken timely and space limitations imply big constraints in care on the one hand, and greater need for care on the other.

More specifically, the social investment shift occurred since the early 2000s has underscored the temporal dimension of policies, among which care policies. The recent move towards social investment implies a specific temporal approach: what (care) policies do now has an effect on the future. Notwithstanding the diverse penetration and interpretation of this policy paradigm in different institutional contexts, the debate around the social investment approach has called upon the incorporation of the time dimension in policymaking, implementation and analysis on the part of policy makers, professionals and scholars by fostering a reflection of the short vs. medium and long-term consequences of policy choices. In spite of different policy trajectories, all European societies are seeking to strike a balance between public and private care responsibilities in the provision and funding of care for older and disabled people and for children. The current set up and constraints – linked to specific family, employment and (social) policy configurations – have been constructed through time. At the same time, choices that are made now in the field of social policies as well as care practices will influence the future. Hence, a historical as well as a future dimension are crucial in understanding current stakes and in shaping policy dilemmas and choices.

There is a need for an empirical and theoretical investigation and understanding of how time and temporality affect and are affected by care policies and care practice. The Transforming Care Conference 2020 will investigate in a global setting:
• How policies consider and shape time for care?
• How care professionals, caregivers and care receivers experience and perceive time in care relationships?
• How the regulation of time influences formal and informal care work?
• How time for care is being negotiated within care arrangements
• How care practices and policies change across historical time?
• How we can foresee care in the future?
• How is care affected in times of emergency and profound crisis?

We encourage contributions that investigate these themes in regards to early childhood education and care for children, care for adults with disabilities and long-term care for frail older people. Papers may address the perspective of time on a macro-, meso- as well as micro-level, and therefore involving the politics and policy level, but also organizational/provider and individual level decisions. We encourage contributions from around the world in order to exemplify how temporality in care differs in a global and perhaps comparative perspective. Historical analysis of care practices and policies are also welcome.

We specifically welcome papers that deal with the over-arching theme of the relationship between care and time, but also papers that look into care from other theoretical and empirical perspectives. In addition to one or more open streams, the Transforming care conference series is therefore structured around four main dimensions, which allows for papers that do not directly address the overall conference theme. The special conditions in which social care policies are is to be carried out during the Corona pandemic add a further dimension to our 2021 conference, which is focused on the impact and implications of the pandemic on social care policies.

• The institutional setting of care systems and care policy (in terms of social rights to care, public regulation, public/private arrangements involving non-profit and/or for-profit organizations, marketization trends, inclusion/selection criteria, affordability, quality, etc..) and its transformation over time
Care arrangements and practices, organized through formal and/or informal channels (caregiving and distribution of paid and unpaid care work, organization and adequacy of care services and cash for care programs, etc.)
• Social and policy innovation on care services and care arrangements, and its impact and dilemmas, also for the future
Formal and informal care work, including involvement of informal carers as well as working conditions of formal care providers.
• Care policy during the Corona pandemic: difficulty in crisis management, social and political impacts, prospects for the future.