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  • 2023Harrisonphd

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Paid to care: exploring emotional management in domiciliary care

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2023
Number of pages289
Awarding Institution
Award date27/06/2023
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis explores the emotional aspects of carework and how they relate to
the provision of care within the specific economic and employment conditions
of domiciliary care, where carers provide social care within the client’s home.
The principal aim of this research is to provide a deeper understanding of the
lived experiences of paid carers, by exploring how they complete care tasks
which can be emotionally provocative for both carer and client. This requires
theorising care provision as practice and theorising emotion as embodied and

Whilst my previous experiences working in the care sector have provided the
impetus for the research, I wanted the data to reflect my participants’
experiences and concerns. Thus, I adopted an ethnographic methodology so
that I could be led by participants and capture their lived experiences. Fieldwork
were conducted in one domiciliary care company in North West England, and
data were generated through observations in the care office, shadowing carers
as they provided care within clients’ homes, and semi-structured interviews with
carers and care office staff.

My findings reveal the ways in which the spatial, relational and embodied
aspects of carework can both provoke emotional responses and be used by
carers to mitigate these emotional responses, pointing to the ways in which
emotional management is embedded within the specificities of the interaction.
An emotionally conducive interaction is based on the negotiation of
recognisable ‘care-giver’ and ‘care-recipient’ subject positions, problematising
the ways in which social care provision is organised and financialised as
standardisable care tasks.

One of the main contributions of this thesis is to
highlight the ways in which the provision of care is embedded within spatial,
temporal, embodied, emotional and relational specificities of the care
relationship and the employment context, offering a more complex and nuanced
perspective of both carework and emotional management.

Bibliographic note

The PhD was externally funded by ESRC, NWSSDTP Grant Number ES/P000665/1.