Symposium 7: Blurring the boundaries of care: community-based public policies, social economy and commoning care practices. Insights from the Spanish case.

Convenors: Magdalena Díaz Gorfinkiel, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Raquel Martínez-Buján. Universidade da Coruña.

The care model in Spain has been built around the unpaid work of women in families, the limited role of public services and the commodification of care through the employment of domestic workers. This approach has posed serious problems for the sustainability of life and the Covid-19 health crisis brought to light the need to design alternatives that will minimize inequalities related to gender, social class and race created by this type of provision. The most critical feminist approaches call for a careful consideration of how to design a democratic care model that will lead to the more socially equitable redistribution of these activities. This approach holds that one of the keys to this new design would be to encourage the promotion of care transfers between the different fields of provision (State, family, market and community), thus facilitating inter- communication.

From this standpoint, the purpose of this Symposium is to launch a discussion on the challenges and possibilities posed by the deconstruction of the boundaries between the different areas dealing with the social organisation of care. To this end, we have included four papers which, based on demonstrated research results, explore innovative experiences developed to improve the connection between all of the agents involved in care. Thus, the analysis focuses on family strategies, commercial initiatives, community-based public programs and the social practices of commoning care which were developed during the pandemic and have contributed to the partial transformation of the current boundaries between gender and generation as well as other barriers between the public, private and community sectors. We believe that, in the European context, Spain is a paradigmatic case in this field in that it has developed a number of different of social movements, citizen groups and local political programs that challenge the prevailing hegemony dominating the commodification and re-familiarization of care. Although this panel includes contributions that analyse the specificities of the Spanish case, all the papers submitted critically engage with how the research findings relate to broader theoretical and empirical questions in the field. In addition, the submissions explore the outcomes emerging from social innovation programmes that can also be inferred from the research and interventions carried out in other contexts.

1.- Title: ‘I don’t want my father to be in the nursing home, but he has to be’: tensions on the border between family care and residential care in Spain. Authors: Sílvia Bofill-Poch, Montserrat Soronellas Masdeu, Dolors Comas d’Argemir (Universidad Rovira i Virgili, Spain).
2.- Title: Collectivising care in segregated spaces: women’s resistance in the neighbourhood of Almanjáyar and the village of Almócita. Authors: Paula Pérez Sanz, Samuel Rubio Coronado, Carmen Gregorio Gil (Universidad de Granada)
3.- Title: Community long-term care initiatives promoted by local government in Gipuzkoa.
Opportunities and challenges. Authors: Matxalen Legarreta-Iza, Elena Martínez-Tola
(Universidad País Vasco)
4.- Brokering agencies and home care worker cooperatives: collective resistance to the private management of care work in Barcelona. Authors: Raquel Martínez-Buján, Paloma Moré Corral and Antía Eijo Mejuto (Universidade da Coruña)

DISCUSSANT: Magdalena Díaz Gorfinkiel.