Cornelia Goethe Centrum

Online Conference of the Trinational Research Project “Decent Care Work? Transnational Home Care Arrangements” from 6th to 8th April

The ageing of industrialized societies in combination with the absence of an adequate (welfare state) response is engendering an alarming deficit of care work. This, in turn, has paved the way for the commodification of care work, formerly a typical case of feminized, reproductive work, carried out informally and unpaid within the family. This conference examines if and how a sea change concerning the commodification and formalization of care work is gradually affecting the public understanding of decent work and decent care. As a starting point, we are drawing on the findings of a collaborative survey of transnationally operating care agencies recruiting migrant live-in carers from Central and Eastern Europe for work in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The project examines how agencies, care receivers and caregivers negotiate their expectations regarding decent care and decent work. It also includes the perspective of stakeholders in the field like trade unions, associations, NGOs, care workers’ activism and networks, their stay behind relatives etc.

This conference seeks to generate profound discussions of the findings of current international research; it offers new insights from research on migration, labor, care markets, care workers and their organizations. By highlighting deficiencies in the economic, political and social regulation, it aims to shed light on the fundamental contradiction between decent care and decent work.

Four key areas will be addressed during the conference:

  1. The Transnational Commodification, Marketization and Corporatization of Live-in Care
    • What similarities and differences in the patterns of transnational care work can be observed in Europe and globally?
    • What processes of commodification, marketization and corporatization can be identified?
    • Who are the main actors in this field and how do they influence the organization of live-in care, the respective policies/politics and the working conditions of the caregivers?
  2. Expectations, Contradictions and Social Inequalities in Transnational Home Care Arrangements
    • Which contradictions and conflicts arise among the actors involved in care work giving, -receiving and -brokering
    • In what way are transnational care arrangements structured by social inequalities?
    • How are live-in care arrangements integrated in other care and nursing services (care mix) and affected by them?
  3. Agency and (Self) Organizing of Live-in Care Workers
    • Which agency and aspirations do care workers and their families have?
    • Which forms of organizing of live-in care workers can be observed, e.g. what role do digital networks play?
    • Which problems of organizing and self-organizing are identified by protagonists like representatives of NGOs, trade unions etc.?
  4. Regularization of Transnational Care Work
    • What are the weaknesses and loopholes of legal and political frameworks?
    • What are their consequences both for the immediately involved actors and inequality in society at large?
    • How is legislation challenged by national as well as supra- and international regulations?

This set of questions requires an interdisciplinary analysis. Therefore, the conference aims at bringing together researchers from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, gerontology, sociology, socio-legal studies, gender and migration studies and social/public policy.

Artist: Eva Langhans, Layout: Mandy Gratz

For further information please visit the conference homepage or consult the conference program.


Conference registration can be made on ConfTool from March 8th, 2021 until April 8th, 2021

Organizing Committee

Helma Lutz, Ewa Palenga-Möllenbeck, Aranka Vanessa Benazha, Jana Dreesbach, Amanda Glanert, Iga Obrocka (Goethe University Frankfurt); Brigitte Aulenbacher, Veronika Prieler, Michael Leiblfinger (Johannes Kepler University Linz); Karin Schwiter, Jennifer Steiner, Anahi Villalba (Universitiy of Zurich)

About the Artist

© Eva Langhans

born 1966, Karlsruhe, Germany
elected exhibitions: Les Livres Gallery., Colchester UK; Galerie Lauth, Ludwigshafen; Galerie Arthea, Wiesloch; Mannheim Castle, University; Galerie 10, Karlsruhe; Galerie Kistner-Bayne, Au am Rhein; Reitstadel, Neumarkt;
group exhibitions: Amtsgericht Schwetzingen, Orgelfabrik Karlsruhe, G. Rothweiler,
art competitions: Wesseling; Sparkasse Karlsruhe; ‚Organspende’,
Awards: 1st place Kunstpreis ‚Pflege’, Sozialministerium Baden-Württemberg (Art Stadthaus Ulm, Kunstverein Mannheim…)
Karlsruhe 2005 (one woman show, Lauth)