Thematic Panel 19: Commercial actors and care entrepreneurs in elderly care markets


Veronika Prieler and Mariusz Sapieha, Department of Anthropology, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science, Research (AISSR), University of Amsterdam

Formal long-term care services for the elderly used to be provided mainly by public institutions and/or private, often church-related, not-for-profit organisations. Over the last decades, demographic and societal changes have led to rising demand for elderly care. Many countries, however, expanded public services only hesitantly. Instead, cash-for-care schemes were introduced and new (transnational) care markets emerged. Private commercial actors play an important role in these transitions within the elderly care sector. Ranging from large transnational chains to one-person companies they, e.g., run residential care homes, assisted living projects, or home care services, offer specialized nursing care services, recruit care professionals, broker migrant live-in workers or connect people in need of care with care providers, often operating transnationally.

The session invites papers that deal with private commercial actors and their role in
developing and providing long-term care services for the elderly. We welcome submission
from researchers of all career stages that address but are not limited to the following
• Who are these commercial care entrepreneurs? What kind of narratives and
aspirations do they mobilize? What links are there to other business sectors such as,
e.g., investment, real estate, labor brokerage, or tourism?
• Which services do they provide and which (new) care solutions do they promote?
• How do private actors navigate national and supranational care-related policies and
regulations? How do they interact with public and not-for-profit actors?
• What does the implementation of corporate and business logics mean for the elderly
care sector, the working conditions, and the way care is experienced?
• How do regional, class-, or ethnicity-related inequalities come into play and which
boundaries are (re-)drawn with regard to accessibility of care services?